Marketing the hottest pepper in the world

if you’ve ever wondered about “giving people what they WANT (instead of NEED)”

… or …

what it means when people talk about “irrational passion

… or …

why status or exclusivity or being ‘different’ are far more important in marketing than ‘usefulness’,…

… then have a look at the “Carolina Reaper”: officially the hottest pepper in the world:


it makes absolutely NO sense whatsoever to grow it (well, for 99.9999999999999999999999% of the population) because you simply cannot eat it.

It’s too hot for human consumption.

There are plenty of other peppers that provide a similar (or better) taste & aroma than the Carolina Reaper.

And yet … the Carolina Reaper is what people WANT.

Only this morning I was looking online for some “Pimiento de Padron” seeds at this site: when I noticed that

  1. they have plants, not just seeds
  2. they have SETS of plants, and … drum-roll …
  3. the “hottest peppers in the world“-set (Carolina Reaper, Naga, and so on) was of course SOLD OUT!

The thing that’s in such demand that it is sold out … is the thing noone can eat!

So, going forward:

should you ever be tempted to tell your prospects why they NEED something … remind yourself:

doing the things they NEED to be doing is about as much fun as eating a Carolina Reaper.

People WANT to do stuff, …

… and it’s usually irrational,  …

… more often than not the opposite of ‘useful’, …

… and if it enhances their status (as e.g. the “dude who has the hottest pepper in the world in their garden”) and shows they’re better (“harder! he can actually eat a tiny piece of Carolina Reaper”) than others, then they definitely WANT it.

There you go, the big secret of marketing wrapped up in the hottest pepper in the world


PS: and yes, I ended up buying a Carolina Reaper plant –  Why? Because we have a poly-tunnel full of ‘boring’ (but useful) pepper-plants. But now I can ‘attract attention’ by saying ‘get your hottest pepper in the world here’ … and then sell the useful/edible peppers on the back of that!




  1. Au contraire Mon frère
    The Reaper is very useful….
    1. Numbing your mouth before dental surgery.
    2. Killing intestinal parasites
    3. Removing corrosion from battery terminals
    4. Making Food that taste like Old dirty sock tolerable

  2. Actually the Reaper isn´t that hot if you cultivate it in a greenhouse in Europe. Obviously some tricks and a special climate are needed to really spice it up.

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