The Parable of the Pig and the Pieman

Aug 22, 2022


A dapper pig teaches a hapless pieman a valuable lesson about the relationship between brand and positioning.

One day, a bedraggled pieman was selling his wares by the roadside when a simple youth happened upon him. Pulling out a penny, the youth asked to purchase two pies.

“Do you jest?” asked the offended pieman. “My least expensive pie is twenty-five crowns!”

“Twenty-five!  Are you outta your mind?” exclaimed the youth. “What with your unkempt garb, neglected carrying sack, and shifty pie boxes, I assumed you were selling two for a penny, just  like ol’ Shabby Pete in town square.” Indignant, the youth bid the pieman a good day and stomped off in a huff.

Before the day was up, the pieman would have two more encounters identical to the first, each concluding the same way. At dusk, heading home and with an empty purse and addled mind, the pieman crossed paths with a well-to-do pig carrying a pie. After proffering the customary salutations, the pieman inquired of the pig curiously, “May I ask, sir, how much you paid for your pie, and from whence you purchased it?”

“Why, I paid a handsome price for this delectable pie—one-hundred smackers!” replied the pig with a broad grin. “I picked it up at the Pristine Pie Palace over on the corner of Ninth and Main. They’re the bomb-diggity!”

The pieman gasped, flummoxed. “Good sir,” he asked his dapper acquaintance, “I have had three men refuse to purchase pies from me to-day — exquisite pies, at that! — for a mere snatch of that price. What gives?”

“Whether your pies are exquisite or not I cannot say,” retorted the pig. “But your whole get-up is telling me two for a penny and bids me speculate as to whether you’re the guy I saw on the news with all those health-code violations.”

Moral: Brands tell stories, and people are believing what they’re hearing.

Original photo by Aaron Houston on Pexels

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