Hard times for Spider-Man: He's a window washer now

There's a business lesson here, and maybe this will be the beginning of a trend. The Shanghai Sheraton Hotel has been making news all around China, the kind of news all businesses enjoy getting, and it's simply because they tried to provide good customer service and got a little creative.

The Shanghai Sheraton was due for a week-long cleaning of their windows, and management was worried that guests might be annoyed, seeing window washers outside of their rooms, and, so for fun, they had their window cleaners dress in Spider-Man costumes.

Well, not only did it work--guests loved the idea--but people from all around have been coming to the Shanghai Sheraton and lining up to get their photos taken with the Spider-Man window cleaners. It's turned into a virtual tourist attraction, and an expense--washing windows--is doubling as advertising. Who would have thought? And so now I'm starting to wonder what else we're going to see certain businesses asking their contractors to do. Company truck drivers dressed as Speed Racer? Building construction laborers decked out like the Incredible Hulk? Swimming pool cleaning crews doing their work as Aquaman? The possibilities are endless.

Geoff Williams is a business journalist and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America(Rodale).
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