We’re going to dive into a little bit of wacky history today because we recently discovered that Vancouver was once the only city in the world that the company 3M decided to test a new product. And boy howdy, did they believe in themselves. Here’s the story of the bus stop, the challenge, and a $3M USD reward that went unclaimed.
The year was 2005, and 3M had a new product that it wanted to show off. It was (and still is) called Scotchshield, and it’s a security film that could be put on windows to make them stronger. It’s way too technical a product to try and explain fully, but it’s basically a super-strong plastic that helps prevent windows from shattering.
In 2005, a glass company set up a bullet-proof glass poster case containing $3 million at a bus stop in Vancouver, Canada. If anyone was able to break the glass they got to keep the cash. You were only allowed to use your feet.. Nobody succeeded, despite plenty trying. pic.twitter.com/zDFJEurict
— Saycheese TV 👄🧀 (@SaycheeseDGTL) May 2, 2021
Well, the marketing department at 3M must have known they had a winner on their hands, because they devised a pretty simple challenge. For one day, they placed what looked like millions of dollars in cash in a bus stop window, hired a security team, and let random pedestrians try and break the window. As you can probably guess, the money was still in there when things wrapped up.
That was over 15 years ago, but the stunt is still referenced in marketing and advertising classes to this day. Heck, you could even argue that Tesla took a little inspiration from it during their own ‘shatterproof glass‘ demonstration. That just didn’t have the same results, is all. Should have gone to 3M, Mr. Musk!
Of course, details dug up since then suggest that it wasn’t a total free-for-all, walk away with a duffel bag of cash situation. People were only allowed to try and kick the glass in (although, there’s no mention of whether or not steel-toed boots were ok). And, only around $500 in real money was actually used, since rolling around with that much cash is kind of dangerous. That said, if someone did break it 3M was going to pay up, just by wire transfer or something.
How did the stunt end? After a few hours of attempts, the frame itself was starting to show serious damage. Since it was about breaking the glass, the challenge was declared over.
We couldn’t help but notice that since then, a version of Scotchshield for cars has been released. For the next stunt, we say 3M buys a new Bentley and leave the keys in the ignition…