A Monday Morning Memo from The Wizard of Ads
The human mind is a crowded room, overflowing with too many memories of smell and color, taste and touch, sight and sound. Half remembered words and buried emotions lie stacked, layer upon layer, in piles that grow deeper with each passing year.
A familiar face, a special place, a bit of a song, a distinctive smell. It is familiar touchstones like these that bring order to the chaos and remind us of who we are and why we do the things we do. Each encounter with a familiar touchstone brings our self image more sharply into focus. Identity, itself, is a product of the things we hold dear.
Advertising arrives as an uninvited guest, pounding on the door of the overcrowded mind. The subconscious, that wary gatekeeper, asks, “Who do you know? Name any friends you may have in this room.” The ad which associates itself with a familiar touchstone immediately gains entrance into the mind. The ad which stands alone is just as quickly dismissed. “Go away,” says the subconscious, “It’s too crowded in here for you.”
Things which are new and unknown are more quickly accepted when related to the known and familiar.
Do your ads touch the familiar in the lives of your customers? Do people relate to the things you say? Or are you merely answering questions of “who, what, when and where,” while failing to answer the pivotal question, “Why?”
Most ads are written under the assumption that the customer is asking, “Who are you? What is your product? When are you open and where are you located?” Unfortunately, the customer’s only real question is, “Why should I care?”
Your customer is saying, “Tell me a story that has me in it. Don’t tell me a story about you. What’s in it for me? Can you save me time, make me money, reduce stress in my life or cause people to think more highly of me? If not, then leave me alone. You’re wasting my time.”
Most ads are about the product or about the company that makes it. Such ads yield disappointing results. The best ads are about the customer and how the product will change his life.
What are your ads about?
Roy H. Williams