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Stand Out in a Crowd

Creative business cards are the ones people remember.

It was a bold move in conservative times. But David Rokusek, owner of The Atomic Toy Co. in Galena, Ill., wanted people to remember him. So instead of passing out a typical bland vanilla business card, "I started to pass out little whoopee cushions with my store information, claiming that I was giving away 'Free Gas,'" Rokusek says. "It started as a joke, but people have come to the store after seeing the card somewhere else."

There are still a few rebels who, come time to order their business cards, believe in flash, humor or just plain weirdness--whatever it takes to stand out from the crowd. Neil Hair, assistant professor of marketing at the Rochester Institute of Technology, says they may be on to something. "Exchanging information should be about an experience, creating a positive relationship between two people," he says. "A really cool business card can put a smile on someone's face, and it allows people to associate a good experience with your business."

Indeed, Kevin Mitnick, founder of Mitnick Security Consulting in Henderson, Nev., hands out an aluminum card featuring a set of twist-off lock-picking tools. "I get five or six letters a day asking for samples," he says. "And I once got a thank-you call from someone who used my card to get into the restroom after leaving his suite key on the sink."
 



Murillo Design Murillo Design Inc.'s wooden Memory Chips are roughly the size of poker chips and excellent to fiddle with during conference calls.
 


 

CardapultWho wouldn't keep the Cardapult--a rubber-band-powered, desk-top catapult business card?

 


 

Mini Whoopee CushionThe Atomic Toy Co. gets the word out with a Mini Whoopee Cushion. Trust us: Everyone will want one.

 



MeatcardSear yourself onto a rectangle of beef jerky--yeah, real beef jerky--with a laser-etched Meatcard.

 


 

PaperweightSo Takahashi Design/Heads Inc. goes arty with a card that functions like a modernist Paperweight.

 



Lock-Pick KitMitnick Security's twist-off Lock-Pick Kit card--for breaking into the executive suite.


 

Jennifer Wang is a staff writer at Entrepreneur magazine in Southern California.

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This article was originally published in the February 2010 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Smoking the Competition.

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