Mechanchiks: More than a Pretty Gimmick

There’s a famous lesson in marketing that has always worked and always will: When everyone else zigs, you zag. Meaning? If your message is unique, you will stand out.


Now that you’ve got your prospect’s attention, hopefully your product will actually deliver, because nothing kills a bad product faster than good marketing.

And you’re reading this because?

There’s a small mechanic shop in Toronto that has taken this lesson to heart. Ms. Lube is staffed only by women – or, as they call themselves, mechanchiks. Great gimmick that zigs big.

The sign out front harkens back to the ’50s. An illustrated cutout of a full-figured sweetheart who looks like she just lept off a calendar and roller-skates is in coveralls and high heels. Oh, bestill my quickening pulse. Could any full-blooded bloke who doesn’t want to change his own tires not be swayed by this oily siren call? My friend, Rich, who’s been single for several months couldn’t. He went there to inquire after the mysterious knock in his jeep.

So, the marketing worked. Now, did the product deliver?

Rich wouldn’t stop going on about the incredible detail his mechanchik went into.

Another famous lesson in marketing that is more relevant than ever: The best advertising is word-of-mouth. Even with his months of soloing taken into account, the recommendation was welcome. I went there this week with my steering column issues and was just as impressed with the mechanchik’s knowledge, openness and – oh, yes – her greasy coveralls.

No high heels, sadly, but it’s hardly the first time marketing has over-promised.

But what if you do want to change your own tires? You can still watch lead mechanchik Rebecca Gilbank show you how. There’s something irresistible about her wielding a tire iron and saying, again and again, “lug nut.”

Image by Graham Runciman.

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