“Often a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride”

Recently I attended the GKIC SuperConference in Jacksonville, FL. There were many great speakers and presentations, but my favorites were the ones Dan Kennedy himself gave. Dan has such a dry sense of humor, and his mind is just brilliant with even coming up with comments regarding nearly anything. Anyhow, he is quite amusing to listen to, and I couldn’t scratch my notes fast enough.
In Dan’s presentation, he talked about 37 Different Schools of Advertising, or ways to spin a message. Many of his examples came from advertising that was done already in the early 20th century or even before. It is fun to look at the marketing messages to see how they could be spun and applied to our businesses today.
Over the next few posts I’ll recap just a few of the Schools of Advertising Dan shared with us.

The Money is in Creating a Solution to Help Us Solve Our Insecurities

Look for Problems About Which We Do Not Speak.
Listerine. Listerine has been around for over 135 years. When it was first invented in the 1879, it was meant to be a surgical disinfectant, an antiseptic, and was advertised for a wide variety of uses such as cleaning cuts and abrasions, as an antidote to dandruff and athlete’s foot, and as a soother of insect bites. At the time it was only available to the medical profession.
By 1914 it was being sold to consumers, but at a rather slow pace. Finally, a couple brothers figured that Listerine could sell faster and better if they made it something people just had to have. They asked the distributor’s chemist if he’d make a list for all the uses of Listerine, and one of the uses was for halitosis, the Latin term for breath.
By the 1920s, society was starting to talk a little more openly about “body issues”, and so they used people’s insecurities to grasp their attention. Their title was “Halitosis makes you unpopular.” The body of the message began in this way: “No matter how charming you may be or how fond of you your friends are, you cannot expect them to put up with halitosis (unpleasant breath) forever. They may be nice to you – but it is an effort.” [1928 Ad, “Halitosis Makes You Unpopular]
Most people fear death less than they fear embarrassment. Listerine was a cure for a social dysfunction. When they started advertising it as a cure for bad breath, sales went to $5mil in one year!
How can something like this be used today? How can you create a problem for the solution you are selling?
“Often a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride” is one of the most remembered ads from 1925. Poor Edna…

An ad playing on social dysfunction, a sure way to grab attention!

An ad playing on social dysfunction is a sure way to grab attention!

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