Is there a kid who never dreamed of becoming invisible? To pass unnoticed before people´s very eyes? To come and go with no accountability? There could be some very real advantages to being invisible — provided you´re not an advertising message.
For an ad, invisibility is the kiss of death.
An advertisement is judged for its ability to persuade a prospective customer to purchase goods or services. Ads that don´t get noticed don´t persuade anyone.How does one make an ad invisible? One loads it full of clichés.
A cliche is a saying that´s been so overused that it no longer holds any meaning for anyone.
Suppose this was the advice you were given to improve your advertising:
“Therefore you should avoid cliches like the plague, especially those which stand the test of time. Knuckle down, keep your nose to the grindstone, your shoulder to the wheel, and your eyes on the prize as you leave no stone unturned. Of course, if you can get your act together these weak hackneyed phrases could be a blessing in disguise. But, half the battle defies conventional wisdom. Wrack your brain for short and sweet expressions that reveal the unvarnished truth about this particular wild goose chase.”
Could you follow this advice? Of course not.
Do you remember anything from it? (No fair peeking).
The preceeding paragraph didn’t say anything. You saw the words, you heard them in your head, but none of them were strong enough to create a visual image. There was nothing even slightly memorable in those eighty-six words.
The whole paragraph is invisible.
How about your ads? Are they also invisible? Let’s see.
Are you still offering the perfect gift for everyone on your list? Something for everyone? Friendly, courteous service?
Are you running an inventory reduction sale? Prices too low to advertise? For a limited time only?
Do you treat me like family? Go the extra mile? Offer over 37 years of experience?
Invisible ads. No one will even notice them, let alone remember anything you told them.
My partner, Roy H. Williams has pointed out that people don´t dislike advertising, they dislike ads that sound like ads.
The easy cure is to stop sounding like an ad and start sounding like a person. Actually SAY something. Make me an offer. Express it with one human voice. Say it in everyday language.
Think you understand?
Here´s a quick and easy test of your new ad. Get 12 inches away from another person — any other person. Maintain eye contact while you recite your ad.
If anything you say embarrasses you or makes you feel silly, strike that line from your copy.
If you´re still running ads that look like ads, sound like ads, and are loaded to the gills with cliches, you´re wasting your money. Let me repeat that: you are spending capital and getting nothing in return.
My business can´t afford that.