Friday, March 25, 2016

1621 It Pays to Advertise

1621 It Pays to Advertise

Yes, advertising can pay. But there is so much in so many places that you’d better be good at it if you want to get noticed… like a new Schwinn in a landfill.

Here’s some fast fast fast relief for your advertising headaches.   

Let’s start with things you should include to gain attention.  In no particular order and depending on what and to whom you’re trying to sell, these include:

-An Asian kid, preferably a teen or pre teen girl.
-A baby, preferably of unidentifiable gender.
-A dog. Maybe more than one.
-A profoundly crinkly-faced old person.
-A profoundly rolly-polly person.
-Kids happily playing a team sport.
-A disabled person doing something most people with that disability don’t do.
-Picturesque outdoor scenery.

And most important (except for the dog):


Emphasize technology even if there’s nothing all that technological that applies. Emphasize your technology.  If possible, your leading edge or exclusive technology.  There is no product or service that can’t benefit from this association.

Sponges aren’t just sponges. They have absorbing technology.  Shaving cream isn’t just soap, it has hydrating technology (it’s wet.)  If those items are not pedestrian enough for you, try this: Hammers have “new impact technology,” maybe even “new advanced impact technology.”

Any of these can sell anything.  But there are some ads that have additional requirements.

If for a car… something speedy that performs in ways yours never will. Be sure to flash “professional driver, closed course” on screen slow enough to be seen but fast enough to forget.  Remember, you’re selling speed or convenience or prestige or style, not a bunch of metal and plastic for use in someone’s daily drudgery.
If for a fast food joint, something more suitable to an expensive dept. store, fancy restaurant or boutique. McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King, KFC and Denny’s are soooo yesterday.  Eating at Chick-fil-a can be soooo romantic. Show elegant looking people in expensive casual clothing admiring each other over a Coke or a Pepsi and a couple of dry, silicon-like chicken sandwiches dressed up in fake juiciness.

If for a pharmaceutical company: try to make sure that your “actual patients” don’t die of side effects before the ad runs. Someone keep an eye on Arnold Palmer. Also make sure your actors are smiling and active while the off screen narrator reads the required list of those death dealing side effects.

For lawyers:  “No fee unless you win” isn’t the same as “no cost unless you win.” Figure out which you mean. And if you hire an announcer don’t have him or her say “non-attorney spokesperson.” Nobody cares.

Further, can you imagine the narrator of an ad featuring a minivan full of kids (including at least one Asian girl and a baby of unidentifiable gender) muttering under her breath “non-parental spokesperson?”

Note to small business owners who insist on doing their own ads: Don’t. You look and sound stupid. Especially auto dealers, restaurants, insurance sellers and shady lawyers. Find good professionals and hire them. You are not Bernadette Castro. The last guy to do his own spots was Chef Boyardee and no one could understand him.

Words to avoid: Succulent, savory, convenient, friendly, knowledgeable, pop (unless you’re selling soda to Canadians,) sack.

Phrases to avoid:  “You’ll be glad you did.” “See our ad in Golf Digest.” And since restrictions apply to almost everything, make that one small and/or quiet if you must use it at all.

Most important of all: make sure your product or service will stick in memory.  Think about how many ads you remember because they’re funny or cute but have forgotten what they were advertising.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my (but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to
© WJR 2016

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