KISS. Keep it simple stupid. Just one main thought or
concept per ad. One and only one. AFLAC! When you add more
thoughts, the results dilute geometrically.
4) KISS CONSISTENTLY. Develop a standard look, feel,
and style that repeats itself in every ad. As long as the
theme is working, run the same theme forever. The Pillsbury
Dough Boy is forever.
KISS WITHOUT CLICHÉS, BUT WITH STRENGTH. Whenever
you see a cliché in the copy, purge it. (Friendly
professionals serving the community needs since 1956.) Whenever
your TV shots are visual clichés (car dealer in row
of cars) purge them! Then KISS with the product or service
that is the strong seller or the high profit.
6) THE SOUND OF SILENCE. Watch your ad with the sound
muted. This will test the effect of the ad in a crowded
room or when the volume is down.
SOS SPELLS DISASTER. Selling Obvious Stuff (SOS) is
a waste. If an ad for a cosmetics clinic is focused on selling
the concept of beauty; the ad is selling the obvious. Of
course women want beauty - duh! Instead sell the reasons
to visit our advertiser. "Betty's Botox lasts longer
and costs less!"
IDENTIFY THE POINT OF ENTRY. To get a new customer,
identify the reason they contact you for the first time.
If a pet store wants to sell parrots the point of entry
is usually a parakeet. The typical parrot buyer is a man
with kids and he first comes to a pet store to get his kids
a parakeet. To get the parrot buyer we advertise parakeets.
9) THE FOUR FIDDLERS OF RETAIL. This rule particularly
applies to auto dealers and furniture stores.
1) Have a consistent spokesperson or spokes animal
or a theme with a twist.
2) Stake a claim to some unique position, niche or
brand identity (Truck-King, used car superstore, etc.).
3) Include a call to action and tout selection.
4) Hook the viewer at the end with some offbeat catch
phrase or jingle.
TAGS ARE FOR DOGS. Avoid tags in co-op. Avoid generic
national footage with little localized content. If it's
a competitive category we want local identity instead.
TEST DRIVE THE SPOT. Find someone in the building who
represents the target audience and show them the spot. It
is critical the target audience get the message we are trying
THE COSMIC TIME TRAP. If the targeted customer is a
busy person, especially working moms, offer them a way to
buy from you and save time. Example "Park at the door."
CHEESE TO CHEESE - STEAK TO STEAK. If your targeted
customer is cheesy, give them cheesy ads. If the customer
is more upscale, the production now requires the sizzle
of filet mignon.
USE LOCAL TALENT. All across America, cities have local
acting groups. The acting groups are loaded with talent
and work for small fees. They love doing ads.
-Local Ad Agency/Worcester, Massachusetts
CAN'T BELIEVE HOW MANY BAD ADS WE PUT ON THE AIR RIGHT NOW.
THEY DON'T HAVE A CLUE!"
-Local TV Rep or production as they point the finger of
blame at each other at a nationwide happening!
The Guru always asks clients.
Briefly, what is the history of your business?
" Opened in 1989 as Fireworks City. Exploded in
2002. Rebuilt. We got a lot of bad press so I changed the
name to Fireworks Heaven in 2003."
2. What is the trend in sales today?
" Sales are up 5%, but behind in annual goal of
3. What are your products or services by volume and profit?
"By volume. Air burst rockets 50%. Cherry Bombs etc.
35%. Twirlers and sparklers 15%. By profit. Air burst rockets
45% markup. The rest is 20% mark up."
Who are the core customers? Males, 16 to 39? 70% blue
collar? Nascar fans? Adrenaline freaks? 90% Caucasian? From
100 mile radius?
What are your seasonal variations?
"Sales are 60% leading into July 4th. 30% New Year.
The rest of the year is boredom on a stick."
Who is the competition and how do you compare? "
Fireworks Frannie drives me crazy. She has half my selection,
but I'm in a bad location so my prices are 10 % cheaper
and she still sells more than I do."
Where and when do you advertise?
Print Advertising? Full page sports section on July 2nd
and December 26th.
Radio Advertising? A full week prior to each holiday on
nine stations. With the Conglomerate Group about 20 spots
Cable TV? Two systems in July and December, each one gives
me 100 spots to run. We spread it out over 5 different channels.
Broadcast TV? Late night shows on KBAG and also on KCOW.
Direct mail? No direct mail.
What about billboards, yellow pages, web site or anything
"I cut out yellow pages years ago. I have one board
on the highway, and it is great. No web site. I'm planning
to try movie theater ads this year."
What works, what fails, and what is fuzzy? What does each
" My print is $10,000 a year. It used to work, but
no more. Radio has failed me miserably after spending $13,000
last year. Arrgh. TV was $3,000 for cable and $3,000 for
broadcast. It may work. The billboard works by giving directions.
It cost me $4,000. I really should do direct mail to my
customer base. Those movie theater ads will be $1,000 total."
Describe your usual message. How do you deal with price?
Do you have any consistent theme or slogan? "
always show the newest big bang rockets; that's what people
want. I never mention prices and our slogan is 'Big Bob
has Big Bangs for Big Boys.'"
What is the point of entry? That is, when a new customer
finds you what do they usually ask you or what do they usually
"A lot of them are just discovering us again, they
think we were closed down after the fire so they are surprised
to find us open again. Do the hideous burns on my face bother
12.The Magic Wand Question .What one specific thing do
you want advertising to accomplish? Wave it. The Guru
grants one wish.
"I want more people to know we have rebuilt the
store after the explosion, and its' bigger and better than
Note: This is the most important question of the day. For
a better explanation of this question see the Magic
this information we can easily focus our message on a simple
announcement "Big Bob is back in a new location, bigger
and better than ever."
in concentration of the advertising budget. Because we know
what works and what does not, we also can now suggest he
eliminate the advertising which has failed in the past and
bulk up on the media which has succeeded.
interviews with business owners I would often walk away
with my normal questions properly asked, yet still be unclear
on my priorities. Then I discovered the Magic Wand question.
I have used it a thousand times since that moment of discovery.
is how it works. After you have asked all the normal
questions, ask the Magic Wand Question.
Storeowner, pretend I really am a Guru and in my hand is
a magic wand. I wave it and shazam you have been granted
one wish. What is the one thing you want to accomplish as
a direct result of your advertising?
to Guru U students and business owners, the wish has to
be very specific. A wish for "more customers"
is not specific. A wish for "more customers who will
buy four wheel drive trucks" is very specific.
wish must also be realistic. "I want more people to
buy air conditioning in December." Sorry not gonna
we said only one wish. Here is a real life example. The
client said they wanted to sell more of their unique Amish
furniture, promote their lifetime guarantee, their weekend
hours and talk up their beautiful country location. I was
very stingy and insisted that they could have only one wish.
store owner thought hard then said. "I hear I have
a bad location. People have a hard time finding me. The
location is obscure. I think if I could just convey my location
I would get a lot more new customers. I am the only one
with Amish Furniture, but I'm hidden."
thunderbolt! There it is. The major problem is now on the
table,and he never mentioned it in the course of normal
questioning. Now our chances of helping have increased.
Doing a marketing plan is now easy.
OF PLAN: Making it easy for for shoppers to find Amish
CONCEPT: How to find the store! The video will show
the sign as if from a car on I -24 at exit 40. Then we can
use the camera to follow the car right to the store itself.
Finally, show the Amish Furniture waiting for us inside.
note to Guru U student: If you have several people in your
questioning session, be generous and grant each one a wish.
In most cases they all agree. The store owners already know
what they need to prioritize, but they aren't doing it.
This is where we come in. As outside advisors, we hope to
cut through the clutter and help them see the forest.
I am asked, What does it take to achieve high frequency?"
The answer requires an understanding of the logic behind
high frequency. Let us first examine three of the leading
philosophies behind our requirements for high frequency.
Glass Analogy is attributed to its inventor; James H. Doyle
of Upgrade Selling, and it basically goes like this: If
you have a pitcher full of water and many water glasses
on a table, you can put a little bit of water in each glass.
Or you could fill a couple to the brim, and let the rest
little drips and drabs of your advertising budget in too
many places means your results will suffer. According to
Doyle, it is far better to choose a few glasses and fill
them to the brim. In real life hundreds of business owners
have taken the advice and consider Doyle a marketing visionary.
The Hun Mandate. This move was invented by a radical radio
salesperson. If you recall, Attila the Hun conquered the
weak and gained in strength. When choosing media for advertising,
apply the Attila Mandate and take advertising money from
the weak and give it to the strong.
defines strong media as that which works best for
the bucks spent. The strong media may not be the top
rated station; it could well be a runty station that works
best. Weak media is defined as that which does not work
and deserves to be pillaged.
Mix is Dead. The Guru at the Virginia State Broadcasters
Convention voiced the "media mix is dead" obituary
in 2001. In the last century, "media mix meant
a good campaign had elements of daily newspaper, weeklies,
outdoor, radio, broadcast television, cable television,
direct mail, etc. The Guru preaches domination of just a
few media outlets instead of media mix. Instead of a long
list of media outlets we buy one radio station, one TV outlet,
and one newspaper. We dominate the ones we do buy, and let
the rest go hungry.
Background. Before we go forward, wisdom dictates you ask
yourself how these newer theories became successful. The
answer is simple. Fragmentation made it happen. Twenty or
thirty years ago most cities had a handful of radio or TV
stations, cable was weak, the paper was dominant. That day
is history. Now media fragmentation is the norm. Trying
to reach all people all the time is impossible, and the
shotgun approach fails. Matching specific media to specific
audience became a more efficient rifle approach. But wait,
there is more! Newspapers are looking more like dinosaurs,
but what about radio and TV? The airwaves are so cluttered
that even when you target the audience carefully one shot
will not bag the quarry. Hence we enter the era of the machine
gun approach. Running high frequency to a specific audience
to break through the clutter really works.
following guidelines are what we preach as we advise thousands
of retailers across the USA. The guidelines are not an exact
science, but our clients are happy with us. The intent is
to give you basic rules of thumb. If in doubt, always err
on the side of high frequency.
If a Run-of Station schedule, you want 40 spots per week
on any one station. This can be reduced if you narrow the
day-part to just morning drive or mid day etc.
TV: If a Run-of Station schedule, you want 40 spots
per week per any one channel chosen. Thus if we are using
Lifetime in our campaign, we want to be there at 40 a week.
As in radio, the frequency can be reduced if you are choosing
a narrow day-part or a specific program.
TV: Buy only specific programs and run in any chosen
program at a minimum three times a week. For example, if
you run the 6 pm local news, you want at least three a week.
Avoid broad rotators. What to do with a show that airs only
once a week like ER? Buy multiple spots..
When you look at industry figures, it becomes clear the
daily newspaper is not suited to high frequency. In fact
their own statistics in Starch and ABC newspaper performance
reports prove the best bet is to advertise once a week.
Running the same ad a second day generates a very small
increase in the number of people who see the ad. In the
field our standard advice to people who choose the newspaper
is to run one B.A.P. (Big as Possible) per week. Price and
item seems to work a lot better than image advertising in
MAIL: The advice I give is based on a pattern of diminishing
returns. In essence, the same type of mailer will
generate its best return the first time out. The more often
a mailer is used the lower the result. As a general rule,
once a quarter is a good bet.
The big, giant boards on the Interstate seem to work the
best. Directional boards get results. The standard, smaller
city boards require high frequency or showing
as they call it in the industry. Ideally you want to have
a showing of 50% or better with small boards. That means
50% of the people in the area will see the board in the
course of a month. Avoid more than six or seven words on
the entire board.
SITES- I am not an expert in how to make your web site
work, but I can give you two ironclad guidelines I am dead
certain about. A) You must have a web site of some form,
even if its just basic information. Having no web
site today means you do not exist. B) Web sites are great
for shoppers who want information and lots of detail about
your business and your products or services. For all other
questions, I suggest you review the web sites of your more
savvy competitors to see what they are doing and then call
in an expert.
to Measure Results
streets, I am often asked by station owners "How do
we measure advertising results?"
that the station owners must have some measurability or
they will get a client cancellation. Here are four sticks
by which to measure advertising success.
is the least reliable of all measures. Basically the customer
is asked, "How did you hear about us." Answers
will range from the reasonable to the absurd. Answers will
include media being used and media not being used. To make
the Ear-Meter work you must include something in the commercial
that generates comments; for example, using the owner in
SALES - METER
is a very reliable measure but it cannot be reviewed alone
as it appears in your client's sales reports. To make the
Sales-Meter work, you must measure sales over a period of
time and then factor in all outside influences: market statistics,
the sales of the competitors, seasonal variances, plus any
internal issues your client has with product, services and
staff. A success may well be an increase or holding a sales
loss to 2% in an environment when everyone else is down
competitive categories, data exists to allow you to calculate
your clients gain or loss of their share of sales in a market.
Auto dealers all have this data. If your Ford dealer goes
from a 24% share of Ford sales to 30% in the local market
- that is a win. Your state usually reports tax dollars
collected in certain categories like furniture. If your
furniture store pays an increasing share of total tax collected
they are selling a greater share of the furniture - that
is a win. Very often the manufacturer's rep who calls on
your client knows who has what for market share.
is a great survey you can conduct on behalf of your client.
Survey at random about 100 people who represent the target
demo. You goal is to discover where your client is positioned
in the brain of the consumer. Ideally you would do this
before a campaign runs, then again after it runs and measure
the changes. If you do this yourself you must buy and read
"Positioning the Battle for Your Mind" by Reis
and Trout. Here is a sample for a law firm:
ask you to give me the names of several law firms, what
names come to your mind?
will give you the relative strength of your client's position
in the general category of law. Now we want to see where
they stand in specific areas.
is the biggest law firm _______________
Who is the most expensive________________
Who has the best lawyers_________________
Who would you consider for advice on:
Buying a home_____________________
A car accident______________________
A very serious injury claim____________
A drunk driving charge_______________
we want to know what image, if any, our client has in the
mind of the average Joe.
comes to your mind when I mention some names?
Law Firm A___________________________ Law Firm B (our client)_________
is a very reliable way to be sure you are advertising to
the right people on the right media. Ideally, the Media-Meter
would become a routine part of your client's business to
build a database over time.
Survey Questions: (Customize for the particular business)
you ever purchased from us in the past? YES NO How often________
you check the newspaper prior to shopping? YES NO
If yes, which publication:
a. Local daily paper
b. Nearby daily paper
c. Local shopper
d. ____________ Other
you subscribe to the daily newspaper? YES NO If yes, do
you subscribe DAILY or just SUNDAY?
On a typical weekday how many minutes do you spend reading
the paper _____
On a typical Sunday how many minutes do you spend reading
your three favorite radio stations or radio personalities_______________________
you wake up in the morning do you turn on the TV? YES NO
If yes what do you usually watch: ____________________________________________
the local news during the day and at night, what local TV
station do you usually watch: ________________________________________________________________________
are your favorite programs on television during the daytime
on your local TV stations? ________________________________________________________________________
three favorite programs on television at night on your local
TV stations: _________________________________________________________________________
either CABLE or SATELLITE if you subscribe, and if so circle
the time of the day when you usually watch cable networks.
MORNING DAYTIME NIGHT OVERNIGHT
What are your three favorite networks or shows on the cable
or satellite during the day_______________________________________________________________________,
and your three favorite at night ________________________________________________.
If you received 5 pieces of direct mail in your mailbox
in any one day, how many of those will you usually read__________?
Did you use the Internet to find our store or research our
services? YES NO
Ideally the client will fill in some estimates on the customer
demographics for example: Age____ Sex_____Blue Collar____White
Collar____Zip Code_____Income_____ Etc____.
Magic Wand Wish
Is it simple? Yes No
Is it realistic? Yes No
Is it specific? Yes No
Point of entry is:
Strength of client is:
Call to action is:
Cleared to Production by________________________
Does this copy obey the KISS Rule? Yes No
To Magic Wand Wish is clear?Yes No
Point of Entry is clear? Yes No
Strength of the client is promoted? Yes No
Is Blah Blah Blah purged? Yes No
Is there a call to action? Yes No
Consistency from past? Yes No NA
Is co-op localized? Yes No NA
Cleared to Produce by____________(Your initials)
After watching the ad the message they got what was what?
Magic wand wish implanted? Yes No
Call to action implanted? Yes No
Cleared to Air by_______________________________
Checks with Client
Date done with (client name)
level of happiness with our efforts
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
With the actual results
1 2 3 4 5 7 8 9 10
Clear to continue on Air by_______________________
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