Yes, it might be worthwhile to mention the tasks that Larry Wall was originally faced with, all those years ago, when awk wasn’t quite cutting the mustard for him. Perl has always been exemplary about ripping text strings apart, really doing just about anything with character data, and we all know that we all do a lot of that. Anybody who’s ever received a wacky file from a client, or who needed to vet it for the mistakes that the client didn’t bother to fix, will instantly identify with any power-tool in that department, especially one with this long of a pedigree.
I still wince when I read on other forums about what people manage to do with “Bash scripts.” To me it feels like boasting about being able to cross a raging river on a floating pie-pan (just to show that you can do it?). Perl gets a lot of use as a simple scripting language, but to that use-case it brings a rich existing-code base and tremendous built-in firepower.
I think that you get people excited about this language most by showing people things that they know they need to do all the time, and to simply show them what Perl can bring to that requirement. You don’t have to bury them in detail. Perl has been doing exactly these things, for people just like them, for a very long time now. It’s an experienced language ... and people keep choosing it.