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Mercatus: WTF?!


Peter Leeson, a Mercatus Center Hayek Program scholar, is no stranger to odd human rituals across history. He studies them for a living. In his recent book, “WTF!? An Economic Tour of the Weird,” Leeson provides economic explanations for practices that may otherwise appear irrational. Trial by combat, selling wives, criminally prosecuting cockroaches and crickets… these might make you say WTF!? With Leeson as your tour guide, though, the strangest phenomena become rational.


The goal was to create a video that drove readers to purchase Leeson’s book. Topics like costs and benefits aren’t traditionally viewed as fun, and you wouldn’t assume that a book with the word “Economic” in the title could make you laugh. The challenge was to distill Leeson’s tone into a video that was equal parts entertainment and education.


We knew from the moment we saw the book’s cover that we’d have a lot of fun with this video. And who better to take readers on this tour than the author himself? With Peter’s dynamic delivery straight-to-camera, we utilized the circus-themed style of the book’s illustrations to bring the cast of characters to life.


This fun, fantastical video helped promote Leeson’s books to readers on YouTube and the Mercatus website.

By all accounts, the video was a huge success! We still don’t have definitive count on how many books were sold, but we do know the video drove a ton of traffic to the Amazon page and increased invitations for pete to be booked for podcasts, etc. We’re so grateful to the 522 team and looking forward to working together in the future.

Sloane Shearman

Academic Marketing Manager