Storytelling Weekly – #012 Please Don’t Tell NYC

Imagine this:

You’re in New York, walking in the East Village of Manhattan.

Road trees. Light graffiti. Brick buildings.

A typical New York City neighborhood.

But as you stroll down St. Marks Place street toward Tompkins Square Park…

Suddenly, you arrive at an old, shabby hot dog store with a black canvas plus a red sign saying:

eat me

“This is weird… I wonder if I’m at the right place.” 

You walk through the tiny entrance, down half a floor into the store.

On your left are two antique arcades playing the old racing game Drift.

In front of you is a small dining table plus a few bar chairs.

“Huh… three customers. So, this means it’s open for business?!”

(actually, you’re not sure why you’re so surprised)

But instead of ordering a hotdog…

You walk straight to the back, finding a secret old telephone booth.

“This looks so SKETCHY!! Where’s the handset…”

Hesitantly, you dial the phone to 1 and wait for a response…


Abruptly, someone pulls open a secret door to take your name, phone number, and reservation.

(all the while, the person stays hidden behind a mysterious black curtain)

Welcome to the infamous Speakeasy Style Bar – 

Please Don’t Tell.

Recap of Storytelling Weekly

Before diving in, here’s a quick recap for newcomers just tuning in to my One Story A Week Series. 

  • Once a week, I’ll find an interesting brand to study.
  • I’ll break down what I like about their storytelling techniques.
  • Then, I’ll show you how to utilize these techniques in email.
Full Disclaimer

I don’t have any insider info or access to their account. So, I’m writing based on studying their website, interviews, and emails. However, I don’t have proof of earning claims or results of specific campaigns.

Now, there won’t be any “hard selling” in this series, but – 

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Brand Introduction

Ecommerce Email Marketing - PDT Logo

PDT – aka Please Don’t Tell – is a speakeasy-style cocktail bar in Manhattan, New York City.

PDT was founded in 2007 and inspired by the prohibition bars during 1920-1933. Due to its unique style…

In 2010, GQ rated it one of the top ten bars in the United States.

Storytelling Tactics

When it comes to speakeasy bars, storytelling is everything.

The hidden entrance…

The wear-down telephone booth…

The mysterious doorman…

The long wait…

The rustic interior…

Everything is telling you a story.

It takes you on an adventure, leaving such an impression that you cannot stop sharing it with all your friends – 

“Hey, you wouldn’t believe this place…”

“There’s a hidden secret door. You have to make reservations through a broken phone booth. blablabla…”

“You HAVE to check it out next time you’re in New York!”

This, my friend, is the power of Word of Mouth – the most contagious marketing in the world.

Email Tip of The Week

Now, we all know why social media is important for businesses.

One viral post can bring you millions of traffic overnight.

But if we dig deep into the core of viral marketing…

It’s nothing new.

It’s simply Word-of-Mouth marketing.

We see something new/cool/exciting/weird…

…and we can’t resist sharing it with everyone.

(because sharing cool things makes us look cool)

And there you have it, the secret behind word-of-mouth marketing:

You must provide a story worth sharing.

It can be unique, exotic, exciting, adventurous, or even weird…

It doesn’t matter.

As long as you can help your audience tell a magnificent story at the dinner table, you’ll never worry about generating awareness again.

But here’s the problem –

How do you know which story has the potential to go viral?

This is where email can help.

Because email is the cheapest (and most effective) way to test different angles, hooks, ideas, and stories.

In short –

Throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks.

Once you have a winner…

You can repurpose it for ALL your marketing – including promotional campaigns, ads, social posts, PR, website, etc.

This will save you a LOT of hassle.