The best business card ever

Okay, this is my favorite business card of all time:

Great business cards

In case you can’t read the image, it says:

USED CARS — LAND — WHISKEY — MANURE — NAILS
FLY SWATTERS — RACING FORMS — BONGOS

ENTERPRISES, Un-Ltd.
W. W. GREEN, President

Wars Fought Stud Service
Revolutions Started Tigers Tamed
Assassinations Plotted Bars Emptied
Governments Run Computers Verified
Uprisings Quelled Orgies Organized

I found this business card in an old book that I bought at a book sale. So I never met the person who made the card, and the mystery behind the business card remains intact. How many uncreative (boring) business cards have you seen in your life? This business card illustrates that a little bit of creativity can go a long way towards sticking in someone’s mind.

96 Responses to The best business card ever (Leave a comment)

  1. Gsimerlink

    Sounds like an interesting person…or at least in his imagination. I had a friend who had cards similar to that one, years ago in college. It lends a nice aura of mystery to a person.

  2. Nice bit of lateral thinking. Thanks for reminding me that I need to revamp my card, although not to that extent!

  3. i’ve seen that card before – a friend of mine had one like that a few years ago – needless to say he moved here from the states..

  4. Willy B

    I know a country in Asian that may want the services in the lower left, oh wait, they’re rich enough now to do it like America does it. Reminds me of cowboy and Indians. And may I digress? Seems the Asian country which I refer unspoken, is the US of last century. Seems America may become the UK of that golden century. Does that mean the current president will teach at a major university there once he leaves office?

  5. I suppose you already did a Google search and discovered that there is a car dealer with that company name in Flushing, New York… Sadly, no web site!

  6. I once saw a card that listed so many titles that they had to be continued on the back of the card :-)

  7. “Bars Emptied.” I wonder if that goes hand-in-hand with “Tigers Tamed.” On second thought, it’s probably related to a loud offering of “stud service.”

  8. Sounds like he is trying to be a jack of all trades. I would think that if you intend to dabble in many things and don’t focus on one thing, it is not such a bad idea to go overboard and really get noticed.

  9. I have one very similar that goes back to when I was in my native England and was a Publican – yes I had a pub in the City of Bath before the www got me.

    Mine had a few differing “heroic points” like Virgins Converted and Crocodiles Castrated.

    I have one card left (dates back to 1989) and will get it scanned if you want to publish it Matt

    There are a few other amusing “deeds” on the card – “bars quaffed dry” was one – I left no illusion as to who the card belonged to nor my phone # as I was single back then and had the coolest pub in town :)

    David
    pst: email me if you want a copy – Radically Transparent David in NC

  10. I’ve never laughed so much.

    As it happens today we were deciding on what to print on the back of our new business cards….

    You’ve given me some great ideas!

  11. David

    Looks spammy – is it cloaked too? :-)

  12. Phantombookman

    Looks like the world’s first keyword spammer :)

  13. Anyone notice the complete lack of contact information? If you don’t know how to contact him, I suppose you’re not supposed to.

  14. Jack of all trades, master of none.

  15. ” This business card illustrates that a little bit of creativity can go a long way towards sticking in someone’s mind.”

    Yeah if you want to associate your self with those kind of words,.. :)

    Creative way to get some attention to your blog though.

  16. just fyi, there used to be vending machines with templates for various different novelty business cards like these – you would laboriously set the name, put in your coins, wait a minute and the card would pop out. that’s why there’s no phone #. it’s a novelty card.

  17. Wow, that’s awesome.

    Nowadays, I think the moo’s, using Flickr images, make some pretty awesome business cards. Check them out at http://www.moo.com, and no, I have no affiliation; I just think they’re great.

  18. Perhaps this card borrows a tune from the “Alpha’s Assassins” sign pictured in this Viet Nam-era military photo: http://www.emilydd.com/Tan_Tru_2/tt24.htm

    Such ironic swagger makes all the more sense in in this context.

  19. The card would definitely draw some laughs I think and be memorable. I loved it and laughed out loud, but I don’t think anyone could ever use something like that in seriousness. It would certainly be memorable, but I am not quite sure if that is the way I would want to be remembered.

  20. Got to be careful with the third down on the left hand list, these days, even in jest, you might get a visit from the men in black coats (and I don’t mean Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones)

  21. Brilliant. Allthoug the “Consultant” title on my card just now seems so meaningless:)

  22. Great card, but you would think an email address or screen name would be helpful.

    Come to think of it, Matt, you could add each of those to your card. I imagine you will rank #1 for a couple of those phrased within a week. Fly Swatter is probably the best choice to describe your job, but where is the humor in that.

    I guess it’s time to link to your blog with the anchor of “Stud Service”

  23. At the exact opposite end of the verbosity spectrum (and of the pretentiousness one, I guess :-), I describe an old Victorian-style “visiting card” my grandma had used… see http://www.nzeldes.com/Miscellany/VCard.htm . The only thing needed then was your name…

    BTW, that’s a nice spam protection method you use!…

  24. One of my soldiers had a card like this many years ago. And the thing is, he had done most of those things, too.

  25. If only it said “SEO” or “Web Designer” would it truly be perfect.

  26. Dave (original)

    Matt, I don’t see any contact details on that business card. Did you edit them out so nobody can call them to find out which services you used? :)

  27. More new keywords for you to rank for in your blog.Let’s see how long before you show up for “Assassinations Plotted” or “Orgies Organized.” :)

    Time to update my card.

  28. Ha ha.
    I am going to make a killer business crad now.

  29. Jeff.M

    Here is something similar but also interesting . He was SF in Vietnam. Met him years ago and he was a character. http://s263.photobucket.com/albums/ii121/jpmarq/?action=view&current=VernCard.jpg

  30. Right now my card should say:

    Sniffles Sniffed
    Coughs Dropped
    Chickens Souped

  31. Sorry to double-post, but I ran the “headline” through Google and found a Ken Jennings (Jeopardy champ) blog entry from October 2006 where he quotes a 1972 article from Sports Illustrated: “Trivia player Bob Hanson of Atlanta is a genial ‘independent insurance adjuster’ who writes mocking crank letters to racist politicians and carries a business card identifying him as a purveyor of ‘land, whiskey, manure, nails, flyswatters, racing forms and bongos.’”

  32. Lol .. keyword spamming on visiting cards =]

  33. Sorry to get all serious, which I know I am not famous for.
    This post actually answers a question I have had about bad neighborhood type words and phrases in a white hat site.

    When I wrote about the poker tournament last year, I kept wondering if even though the site was all white hat, linked to white hat sites, and was linked to from white hat site, since it did start off just talking about poker, it might be considered a bad site..

    So just the fact that you now have crawlable, the words and phrases “orgies” and “stud service” on your site is a bit of valuable data. You could have just left it as a jpg, but instead chose to turn it into editable text.

    It either is a strong indicator that words alone do not a bad site make, or that you just completed the third service down on the second column ;)
    dk

  34. It’s wild to me that this particular content predates the web. By a decade or two. :) It would be neat to try to track down where this started, but the answer may be lost in the mists of time.

  35. Looks like they don’t have telephones yet back then?

  36. That’s the right way for bloggers. Not only dry stuff and information. This business card is really funny and it causes a smile at anybody’s face. Thanks, Matt.

  37. I have to disagree with your linkbaity title there, Matt. :P I think that Kevin Mitnik (yes, the hacker) has the best and most creative business card ever.

    He works as a security consultant (I think) and his card has a discardable lock pick!

    Here’s an image:

  38. Really interest! how can i find them?

  39. Rear of business cards is of course for your RFC 1685 email address though I preferred having the x.400 email address rendered in a more hierarchal way eg start with country

    Back in the day If I had been a bit naughty I could have probably got a very nice x.400 address possibly something like C=UK G=Maurice (one of the perks of working for the UK’s ADMD)

    I have seen similar calling cards used by military units for psychological reasons we only have to get worried if the Google page rank bar starts displaying the Ace of spades instead of a green bar

  40. Joe Woods

    LOL…I saw the same card when I was in the Marines, but it had the Eagle, Globe and Anchor on it and said United States Marines. Seemed pretty fitting considering the Marine Corps history.

  41. I was handed a card by a tree trimmer a few weeks ago which read “Vetinarian/Taxidermist, One way or another you get your dog back.” He called it his “funny card.”

    http://www.midnightcheese.com/?p=526

  42. I was going to say “spam” as well. Some what topically optimized in the lower right and left sides though…

  43. This is a great business card and even cooler that you found it lingering in an old book! What a way to be remembered! Although contact information would be an important addition. Thanks for sharing!

  44. lol, that card made no sense.

  45. This would have worked so well in the American Psycho scene where he drops the business cards on the table…

    Hmmm might get photoshopping on that one!

  46. Morris Rosenthal

    Matt,

    Could be clever viral marketing. Print up business cards, age them in the dryer with poker chips and wander through used bookstores sticking them in books. Well, maybe not, but if you went to the trouble of Googling any of it out of curiosity, there’s promise in the approach.

    Morris

  47. It looks like Google’s homepage. Simple and boring … ;)

  48. I recently came across cards with title “Chief Massive Action Officer” and “Chief Entertainment Officer” – both for the same person. I found it quite funny.

  49. Doug S

    If someone linked all the items on this business card to separate sites, they’d be quickly getting filtered for selling paid links.

  50. Wez

    Interesting find Matt,

    I must admit, it puts me to shame, I’m only an expert on dating, relationships, taxidermy and automotive repair.

    But, I suppose everyone needs their little niche – perhaps I should branch out into assassinations.

    Regards

    - Wez

  51. lb

    uh. the people who want to trace the fascinating history of this card understand it’s an item commonly available at joke shops right? you can have them printed with whatever text you want.

    everyone in my high school had a version of this (for about 6 months). mine read “Celibacy Consultant.”

    the lack of contact info is because no one is *actually* selling bongos, taming tigers etc. the whole thing is a gag and not a particularly historical or interesting one. sorry to be boring.

  52. My favourite business card was from a lawyer, it said “donkeys filited while you wait”

  53. Dan

    Best part is, even though it’s memorable, you have no hope of contacting them. There’s no phone number or address on it!

    Creative doesn’t always win out when you forget the key details. :p

  54. Epic Fail

    Fail – this is a re-make of an original made back in the early 70′s and he screwed it up.

    Missing:

    Revivals Led

    Virgins Converted

    at the least, I shall have to find mine and scan it

  55. Hampstead

    These cards were all over the UK in the 80s.

    As far as I can remember the words at the bottom were standard. The wording across the top, the company name and the persons name were all personalised.

    They were bought from machines usually found in film developing shops.

  56. gruntled

    Any Robert A. Heinlein readers here? I recall seeing that same sort of construction in one of the Heinlein books about the man who lived 1,000 years, which means this sort of card has been around in the States for at least sixty years…unless of course Heinlein invented it for the book and then somebody started printing them.

  57. greatsage

    The origins of this card are in the works of sci fi author Heinlein I believe. I can’t remember which book exactly (number of the beast?), but it features the (almost) immortal Lazarus Long and a huge party attended by inter-dimensional celebrities and ancient Gods – Norse in particular I think. One character has a business card which is saintly on one side and satanic on the other… has to be the source I think. Very old too.

  58. From the world of fiction (P.G. Wodehouse, ):

    LEAVE IT TO PSMITH!
    Psmith Will Help You
    Psmith Is Ready For Anything
    DO YOU WANT
    Someone To Manage Your Affairs?
    Someone To Handle Your Business?
    Some To Take The Dog For A Run?
    Someone To Assassinate Your Aunt?
    PSMITH WILL DO IT
    CRIME NOT OBJECTED TO
    Whatever Job You Have To Offer
    (Provided It Has Nothing To Do With Fish)
    LEAVE IT TO PSMITH!

  59. The text above and below the name is particularly old, I’ve seen it referenced/made fun of in old books before. As I recall, it was popular sometime in the 1930′s-50′s, but probably predates even that.

    Here’s a 2001 mention of a guy with the same sort of thing on his card at the Utah State Fair:
    http://www.utah.com/schmerker/2001/state_fair.htm

    Google for “Used Cars, Land, Whisky, Manure” and you’ll find several references to it, all over.

  60. Chuck

    I worked for Kinkos and we used to print these all the time for various people. We even redesigned the layout a bit to add a special seal and insignia. Always got a kick out of them. Great post!

  61. For me it was an early form of target marketing as I was recently divorced had the best pub in town and consequently “carded’ all the Ladies that caught my eye – it actually worked and the Ladies always got a laugh out of it plus I had a lively dating life….

    I also had on mine Vindaloo Scoffed – I must scan it and publish it.

    I gave the card to my now wife who was an American tourist from San Mateo, CA and she thought it was so amusing we ended up getting married and being soul mates…..

    Now where can I go to get this scanned?

  62. I may have some new ones printed – Google Gamed – Yahoo Yanked – MSN Manured – Bloggers Flogged – Calcanis Crashed – Mate of Matt – Vanessa Voloptuos – any ideas ??? Ignorer of Trends –

    This is a definite go for me.

  63. betsy

    what book did you find the card in?

  64. That W.W. Green gets around.

    Here is a report he wrote on the effectof sex on a pig http://jas.fass.org/cgi/reprint/4/1/55.pdf . I guess the stud service is panning out.

    Brad

  65. Matt:

    You made the first page for Stud Service and that was a single link from an obscure blog.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=stud%20service

  66. Next time Matt, don’t post some random business card you found in a book.

    Instead: Pose a question based on any number of wild n weird theories and see what your adoring public can dig up for you. The end of the world is near! No. It’s 45732457 days away.

    Perhaps soon you will have a user driven search engine where your blogs commenter’s spew out relevant answers dependant on your input. Oops, we already appear to have that.

    On a different note. What was the book?

  67. Deb

    Matt

    Long live – W. W. Green………….

    Deb

  68. Actually, Matthew Anderson, the world is supposed to blow up in 2012. The Breatharian Institute of America and Mr. Wiley Brooks has taught us that. This guy’s actually been on the radio (a show called Coast to Coast with George Noory) talking about this stuff.

    Now that’s a great cult.

  69. It makes me think that my life is too boring. I feel so depressed! rsrsrs

  70. Funny this reminds me of a co-worker at Inktomi who put in the title of “Cubicle Occupant”, one of the funniest cards I have ever seen. Up until this one, however a single title is a little more humorous than so many.

  71. I love it, just love it. where can I hire this guy? I am sure I can find something for him to do.

  72. What a creative mind, love it

  73. JC

    It was a popular thing back in the 50′s? My grandpa’s business card had the exact same phrases on it (he owned a bar) although the lay out was a little different and his name wasn’t Green. My dad has a stack of them that were handed down when he died. I was actually thinking about this a week ago trying to remember all of the little phrases, I couldn’t remember any of the lines except “orgies organized”.

  74. May I humbly present our laminated style business cards. Our customers tell us these are the best business cards and that when they hand them out, the most common response is, “Wow! Nice card. Can I keep it?”

    Here is the link: http://www.bestbusinesscards.com

  75. He sounds like a good friend to know as he does a little of everything. Expectially with that last one.

  76. Lol..odd combination of services. Must be a colorful personality.

  77. Wow, a very nice business card. I wonder why this post became matt’s best post in 2008 :D, sounds very mysterious. Gonna planning make something like this

  78. Joe L

    If you are interested, the card goes back to the early 1970′s and is often passed in the Special Operations communitiy (originated by Army Green Berets). You may occasionally see these cards passed by Navy SEALs or Army Rangers however; the origin is Army Green Berets

  79. This card may be worth a chuckle, but srsly it’s a fake business card that has no contact into. I bet at least 3 cuttlets are gonna rip off this card and start passing this around at conferences now…. unless they read this coment

  80. lol @ coment -damn 4 thumbs

  81. I always need a good fly swatter!

  82. I can only imagine what he’d use today for his twitter bio. Besides all the other stuff that makes it fun, I really like the fact that it’s such an unassuming black and white card. Putting it with a bunch of funky colors would have been overwhelming. This is perfect – sort of like English humor – it gets you when you weren’t expecting it.

  83. Have a professional designer create your business logo. If you provide products or services that can be represented with a symbol (ie, house painter, home builder, restaurant, dog grooming service), the logo should symbolize that product or service in some way. It should also be scalable for use on business cards, letterhead, brochures, and your website.

  84. If what you do isn’t immediately apparent from your business name, create a one-line slogan that will help people remember what you sell. Include the slogan on your business card.

  85. The most dullest business card I’ve ever seen had only a website URL on it. No name, no phone number, just a URL. How dull is that?

  86. Victor

    Ah, the blissful ignorance of youth. Most who commented understood the purpose of the card, but for the few who didn’t, It’s a JOKE! For fun, to “interact” face to face with another (hopefully stunning) human being. It’s not supposed to give “contact info”, e-mail or URLs. It’s for amusement and to break the ice with someone.
    ‘Sounds like he is trying to be a jack of all trades.’ really?
    ‘Looks like they don’t have telephones yet back then?’ again, it’s not a business card, it’s a joke. An icebreaker. Popular with the military and retirees.
    We could all use a more real flesh and blood socializing, and humor is a great way to initiate it. You wouldn’t want all that text on a card, and that’s kind of the point. Thus endeth the lesson.

  87. Funny this reminds me of a co-worker at Inktomi who put in the title of “Cubicle Occupant”, one of the funniest cards I have ever seen. Up until this one, however a single title is a little more humorous than so many.

  88. Billy Connolly joke

    some people have no originality lol :-)

  89. XiuMabel

    Sounds like one of Heinlein’s hooligans.

  90. Hannibal Jakes

    The idea of it being from Heinlein is spot on. Also, it was common in Heinlein’s day to have “introductory” cards. A gentleman would arrive at a home, to either try to sell something, or just to visit, and would hand over a card with his name and services on it. No, it didn’t always have a phone number or address, although it WAS common to at least have a city name and state (if in the USA).
    *Doorbell rings* Servant or younger child opens the door…
    “Yes sir? How can I help you?”
    “Yes, young lady. May I inquire as to whether your parents are home? Here is my CARD…” and the child/servant would run the card to the parent, leaving the door closed on the person calling, while they cooled their heels on the stoop, preferably on some furniture our there just for that purpose. When the parent read the card, they would either tell the child to let the stranger in (rare), tell them to go away (politely), or tell them that the parent would be there shortly… all in the name of ETIQUETTE…

    (/rant)

  91. haha that is so awesome… I am going to have to remake my business cards and add a few things onto it lol…

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