Today Coca-Cola raised its full-year sales forecast after a stronger-than-expected third quarter. Apparently sales took off like a rocket when Coca-Cola merged with the Mentos candy company.
How I wrote it:
A good joke topic has to grab the attention of the joke’s target audience. If the joke is aimed at a general audience, business news stories tend not to do that.
But I decided to write a joke about this business news story because it involved a consumer product that everybody can relate to. And the idea of a big increase in sales is easy to understand.
To create a punch line, I started by asking myself what would make Coca-Cola sales go up. That is, I started with my Punch Line Maker #3: Ask a question about the topic.
But as I thought about that question, I happened to visualize a two-liter bottle of Coke with Coke shooting up out of it. That image led me to pivot to one of my lesser-used techniques, Punch Line Maker #5: Visualize the topic. When I realized that dropping Mentos candies into Coke would cause it to shoot up that way, I had the idea for my punch line.
To link it firmly to the topic, I needed to word the punch line as the business news equivalent of dropping Mentos candy into a bottle of Coke. “Coca-Cola merged with the Mentos candy company” did the job.
I also needed an angle that would smoothly bridge the business news topic and the vivid image of a Coke geyser. So I came up with “sales took off like a rocket.”
My punch line implies that the geyser effect can be produced by dumping Mentos into Coca-Cola. But as I remembered, only Diet Coke produces that effect. Would my audience accept Coca-Cola in the punch line? I decided that they would, especially since some quick online research revealed that Mentos would also make Coke erupt.