Making A Fortune: Journalist Foresees Sweet Future In Chinese Cookies

In these economically challenged times, many of us are reinventing  ourselves. For example, you may recall that I recently wrote about a CW  speechwriter who is now an “energy healer.”

In another instance, publicists (like yours truly) are looking  into careers in production, which is why I wrote about NATPE’S  PitchCon.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to another clever and creative  career move: Former Hollywood Reporter columnist and current contributor Ray Richmond is taking his talents as a print  journalist to the fortune cookie business. Richmond is the author of several  books, including The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to our Favorite Family.  He’s also a frequent guest on radio and TV talk shows and is known in  entertainment circles for his clever comebacks and quick wit.

“You will write a column about ‘The Smartest Cookies on Earth,’” said the message in one of the Super Accurate Fortune Cookies Richmond sent me.  Well, how about that! The fortune was accurate. I am writing a  column about the smartest cookies, which happen to be the same as the fortune  cookies. But you probably already guessed that; and it’s that kind of humor that  Richmond brings to the somewhat stale and stereotypical fortune cookie industry.

“I’d been making a good living as a full-time freelancer from  roughly 1997 to 2010,” says Richmond. “But then things took a turn for the  worse, due to the disintegration of the print media, and I realized I was going  to need to reinvent myself. One day, I’d just finished a meal in a Chinese  restaurant with my wife. I opened up my fortune cookie and it said, ‘Good things  will happen for you in the future.’ I thought, wow, it simply isn’t possible  that a fortune can be any lamer than that—and that the message could literally  have been written for anyone. That’s when the lightning bolt hit: Hey, why can’t  they be targeted specifically? It immediately struck me that fortune cookies  were a particularly unimaginative area of the literary spectrum and were ripe  for creative growth.”

Super Accurate Fortune Cookies, which come packaged in quantities  of 10 for $7.99 in cool Chinese take-out boxes, will officially launch in  mid-August at

One of the features that immediately sets the brand apart are the 10 different themes available, ranging from New Baby, Birthday and Anniversary  to Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties, Weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvah and even one  for people who celebrate sobriety.

“The fortunes inside each themed box speak to the specific event,  so that the cookies are likely to be accurate to your life no matter who you  are,” says Richmond.

The New Baby fortune box includes messages like, “Your  friends who have dogs know exactly what you’re feeling.” For Bar/Bat Mitzvah,  the fortune on the front of the box is, “You are, or recently were, or soon will  be in a room filled with Jews.”

Then there’s the “Original” package, which includes such fortunes  as “Your Facebook friends lead much richer and more fulfilling lives than you,”  “You have no gloves in your glove compartment,” and “If we told you, we’d have  to kill you.”

Marketers have already discovered that award-winning  journalist-humorist Richmond is also available to create custom cookie messages  too—for new business presentations, for company Christmas gifts to A-list  clients, or for that big red-carpet special event. Clever marketing and PR folk  are welcome to write their own fortunes, and Richmond can produce them for a  modest additional fee. Or you can hire him to write custom fortunes specifically  tailored to your event. 

“That will cost an extra few grand—hey, genius don’t come cheap,  baby!” says Richmond with a laugh. “Or, you know, I’m sure we can work out  something more reasonable—like turning over to me some precious family  heirloom.”

Aside from being the creator of the company and head writer of the  fortunes, Richmond also plans to serve as spokesperson for the brand. (There is  already a hilarious video of him available on the home page of his  website.)

“My strategy is to become the maestro of the fortune cookie  world,” says Richmond.“If you can find a hat shaped like a fortune cookie, I’d  like to buy it.”

I may not have Ray’s talent for writing fortunes or pitching  cookies but I do know a great idea when I see—and taste—one. (Yes, the cookies  are delicious.) So I foresee a long and successful future ahead for Ray and his  Super Accurate Fortune Cookies—which, by the way, are 77 % more accurate than  regular fortune cookies, according to leading fortune cookies authorities named  Richmond.

To prove it, let’s give the fortune-cookie genius the last  word.

“I predict, ‘You will make it all the way to the end of this  column,’” says Richmond. “I know, pretty astonishing, right? It’s a gift.”

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