Sleep with people from around the world…

Yesterday I spoke about injecting a bit of humour into the drier parts of business.

But one part of business that can easily be fun and witty is advertising.

I often see this advert on my walk home and every time it’s caught my attention…not just because it’s huge:

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(excuse my terrible photography, the post with the camera is covering a wink emoji)

Revamped

I’m not keen on re-marketing things.

I’m not one for revamps.

The new Mad Max movie sucked in my opinion, and told me just how right I was to keep away from it.

But today I picked up my copy of “Ogilvy on Advertising in the Digital Age”.

It’s a revamp of one of my favourite books.

I’m not 100% sure how I feel about it…but as the first book was such a classic, I have high hopes.

Book review to follow…

The Loan Shark and the Smiths next door

When it comes to advertising a product or a service – one of the key things that companies target is a customer’s social standing. 

Humans, by and large, want to be liked.

We want to look good. Take for example personalised number-plates, there’s a huge market for them – and, contrary to popular belief, one of the reasons why they’re so popular is because they disguise the age of the car…at least to the untrained eye.

Fancy that, ey? It’s not just to have your nickname on the front/rear of your car. It’s so the Joneses next door don’t realise that your car is actually ten years old.

But going back to those on the wrong side of the law, one of the best anecdotes on using social pressure to get what you want concerns a debt collector.

As you can imagine – the life of a loan shark can be pretty tough at times. Common sense is a gift not divided equally, and those who borrow money tend to not want to pay it back.

So the first thing this debt collector would do – he’d find out the address of his payment dodger’s mother or close family member. And he’d send them a postcard. Addressed to the payment dodger but going to the family address.

And, as postcards aren’t in envelopes, the family member would have to have the willpower of a Spartan not to read the back of the postcard.

Then they’d get in touch with the person that the card was meant for. Exerting social pressure.

Because no one wants to look bad in front of the family, right?

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(image credit: Hemingway Design)

If this method didn’t work (or if he couldn’t find a relevant family member) – the loan shark would send another postcard.

It would again be addressed to their client, but it would be addressed to the house next door. Instead of to the client’s actual house.

So, as you can imagine, the Smiths next door would read the postcard and find out that their neighbour owed money to the wrong people.

Presumably they’d then deliver the card to the addressee…and he or she would be served a massive dose of social embarrassment.

Manipulating the natural human instinct to care what others think can get you want you want.

It’s the same with getting models to wear clothes and showing lots of happy, cool people using an electronic gadget.

If we think it’ll make us look or feel a certain way, we’re likely to be more interested in it.

(I believe I first read about this anecdote in ‘How to write sales letters that sell’ by the enigmatic Drayton Bird – one of the greatest living copywriters, who I was luckily enough to meet at his seminar a few years back)

(featured image credit: www.sharkdiver.com)

“The Theory and Practice of Selling the AGA cooker”

David Ogilvy (1911 – 1999) is one of the biggest legends in the advertising business.

Known as ‘the father of advertising’ Ogilvy worked for advertising agencies in both London and New York – he was equally successful in both countries.

During the second world war he even helped the British Intelligence Service with their communication strategies. Which is one of the things that I find most fascinating.

Who knew that national security and marketing could mix together when a country is in peril?

One of the other things that fascinates me about Ogilvy is his early life. His first real adult job was as a door to door salesman.

Can you imagine the advertising executives of today doing that? Not a desirable role at all, and one that many couldn’t do.

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(My copy of Ogilvy on Advertising – a fantastic & engaging read)

But, yeah – Ogilvy learnt how to sell by going door-to-door. He learnt about real people. What they liked, what they responded to and what worked when it came to closing the deal.

And, for those of us who want to use our creativity to sell things, it’s an important lesson to learn.

As creatives and arty types we won’t always have as much in common with the average joe.

So it’s important for us to keep ourselves grounded and to keep ourselves in touch with the public.

Something that catches our interest might not bother Jim next-door. And vice-versa.

When he was young Ogilvy sold cookers. He was phenomenally successful at it. In fact he was so successful that the first book he ever published was a manual on selling cookers.

I found it online and I’ll include a link to it below – it’s a fascinating read. Although, unfortunately, in terms of the language used, it’s a bit of a product of its time.

“The good salesman combines the tenacity of a
bulldog with the manners of a spaniel. If you have
any charm, ooze it.” – David Ogilvy

The Theory and Practice of Selling the AGA cooker”

The Madmen who turned down Mad Men

Celebrity gossip sites, Instagram and the tabloid press are a constant reminder to us all of other people’s success.

If you’re waiting on success it’s worth keeping yourself in check and remembering that it doesn’t happen overnight.

Often a long and gruelling process.

Take for example the hit TV show ‘Mad Men’. Its 92 episodes ran for seven seasons – reaching audiences across the world.

It’s widely considered to be one of the best TV shows ever made.

But, Mad Men’s success wasn’t sudden. It took a long time.

The show’s head writer, Matthew Weiner, had been working on the concept for ten years before the pilot aired.

He was working as a researcher and staff writer for other people’s TV shows. 

But all he really wanted to do was work on his own series.

The future wasn’t looking good though. Weiner faced rejection after rejection. 

Company after company telling him that they didn’t think audiences would want to see a show about advertising executives.

So, night after night, once he’d finished his day job he’d sit in his study working on his ‘advertising project’.

Legend has it he’d even carry a copy of the pilot script in a briefcase with him wherever he went. Just in case.

Often he’d attend dinner parties and socials with his successful wife. 

When he’d tell her friends that he was a writer, they’d ask if he’d written anything they might have seen…his answer was always no.

And then…quite suddenly…after talking to enough of the right people…his script landed on the desk of someone who liked it. An influential someone, at that.

The rest was history. TV history. Now, Matthew Weiner is one of the most successful TV writers of all time and has definitely written something that you’ll have heard of.