Shawn Porat got the idea from a political campaign for Robert Kennedy back in the early 60’s. Kennedy’s team placed political ads inside fortune cookies in Boston. The idea never took off back then, but Porat thought it was a brilliant concept, especially after eating at a Chinese restaurant one evening and hearing people all around him commenting on the fortunes they found inside the crispy bent almond cookies.
He began with specific businesses like Bloomingdales and TJ Maxx, where the sales clerks handed out fortune cookies with specially designed slips of paper inside that acted like discount coupons. In 2014 he convinced the Missouri State Lottery to advertise their tickets inside fortune cookies placed in dozens of Chinese restaurants throughout the state, and the buy rate for Lottery tickets increased perceptibly over the next six months.
Now Porat has just closed a deal with Bank One to distribute ten million fortune cookies to over five thousand Chinese restaurants nationwide. The news has leaked out onto the social media (via Annika Bansal) and looks to be going viral very soon.
Porat’s company has just rebranded itself as OpenFortune, and has only eight employees on staff, who monitor sales and the source out the printing of the fortune cookie ads and the fortune cookies makers. Porat is proud that he has been able to source all this work out to American companies, and that he insisted they use soy-based inks on biodegradable paper slips, to help keep things green.