OTC: Magic with a message

Mark Phillips knows a bit about downhole monitoring devices for oil and gas reservoirs, but a lot about magic.
A professional magician/spokesman from Rockville, Md., Phillips has spent most of this week on the floor of the Offshore Technology Conference using sleight-of-hand and illusion for the mingling crowds while extolling the benefits of Roxar’s software and equipment.
Phillips has about 40 routines with a wide range of magic tricks, from card tricks to disappearing and reappearing items (usually money) and linking single, seemingly solid steel rings with each other. But it’s mainly a medium for incorporating information about a product.
“If the product is about cost savings I can do a money trick. If it’s one that uses less space I could do a trick where the deck of cards gets smaller. It’s really about creating a visual memory aid,” Phillips said. “If I can get a prospective customer for a multiphase meter to watch and then set off a little bell in their head, I’ve done my job.”
Companies will send material about their products to Phillips in advance of an appearance or give him a briefing on it. He does some of his own research on the products, too, and figures out which key features to highlight.
Phillips likes learning about new industries through his work, which has expanded in the pharmaceutical industry recently due to new Food and Drug Administration rules that now limit, if not prohibit, firms from giving away things to doctors, even pens and note pads.
“We can’t give them things but I can give them an experience,” Phillips said.