Last week I talked about USPs and that without one it’s hard to get attention. Also, as I’ve previously said, you’d think that would be obvious, but the funny thing is, it isn’t.
Everyday we see ordinary stuff pouring out like tap water – from blog posts to social media to PPC ads. We see lead generation machines giving away ebooks, cheat sheets, and anything else that is currently in-vogue amongst the internet marketing elite and their huge army of followers.
But that’s nothing. Follow bricks and mortar businesses anywhere in the world and it’s no different. Almost every ad is relatively ordinary. Some try to be funny, some try to be daring, and some try to be clever, but the vast majority fail in what they’re trying to be.
We recognise anything that doesn’t feel or look quite right because we’re fine tuned to survive. If anything has the slightest whiff of falsity about it, we see it (or at least, get an uneasy feeling about it).
This is why one way to get attention is to call it out. Get bold and up front with people. Tell them that this product doesn’t do this or that, but when it comes to the one thing it does do, boy does it do it well.
That was what Heineken did in their super long running advertising campaign that started in 1975. “If Heineken were to become copywriters, they’d probably be the best copywriters in the world…”.
It’s a kind of self-denigration without actually saying it (ie. “Heineken are not copywriters, and will never be any good at it, but when it comes to making beer, well, they’re probably the best”).
What Heineken had was not just an angle, but a really big idea. They wanted to tell the world they were the best without boasting, and it worked Gangnam style. The whole campaign revolved around a single word: “Probably”. And it lasted well into 2018 (that’s a 43 year shelf life).
But it’s not the longest lasting big idea (L’Oréal’s “worth it” started in 1971 and is still going strong today).
More on this part 2, meanwhile, what attention grabbing ads have you seen recently? Let me know in the comments.
I've spent my working life starting and running a whole variety of businesses, from my first QPL Express Couriers where I travelled over 100,000 miles every year delivering packages on a motorcycle (along with a whole bunch of colleagues) to Accountz.com which made a major in-road in the UK, to ProofMEDIA my current business that focuses on Copywriting and the International Copywriters Association, which helps copywriters learn more about copywriting and the copywriting industry around the world.
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