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Would you like to breathe the air of the picturesque French town of Montcuq? For just 5.50 euros (plus another five for shipping to the U.S.), a 250ml tin full of that air could be yours.
“Air de Montcuq” is the brainchild of 22-year-old student Antoine Deblay, who first had the idea to sell his hometown’s air over the summer. He put his idea up on the French crowdfunding site, where he was surprised to raise more than 800 euros ($1,000) in just a few weeks — enough to set up a website and pay for packaging. Before long the French press picked up the idea, and orders for the tins began rolling in.
Deblay tells Business Insider that he received 1,000 orders in just three weeks, which was a bit of a shock. “Of course I knew it was going to sell, but not so much in so little time!” he says.
It’s also been surprisingly lucrative, with a profit margin of around 60%, according to Deblay, who says he has earned thousands of euros from this project.
Why on earth would people be buying the air from a French village? Those of you who speak French may have already guessed the answer.
You see, in France, the name Montcuq is frequently mispronounced as “mon cul,” which translates to English as “my ass.” So, “Air de Montcuq” roughly translates as “the wind of my ass.” You can imagine why that amuses people.
Deblay has a lot of fun with this on the tins, which includes the following blurb:
Fresh air of Montcuq is 100% organic, it immerses you in the depths of the city to refresh your ideas. Ideal when you are in need of creative inspiration. Attention: irreplaceable content, consumable once. Do not leave it open.
Deblay admits the air itself probably isn’t the reason people are buying it. “Maybe the ‘Air of Montcuq’ has particular composition, I dunno,” he says. “I just made a good marketing plan around the product and if people like it, this is probably because the word play of ‘Air Montcuq’ makes them laugh.”
Whatever the reason, Deblay’s project may not have much longer left. Deblay said that he would only sell 10 liters of air a week in order to not use up all of Montcuq’s air, and the website now contains the warning “WE REACHED THE MAXIMUM QUANTITY OF AIR SAMPLING!”
Deblay was kind enough to send one of the tins to the Business Insider offices. We opened it and it smelled like … nothing.
– Business Insider