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Sound advice about content (and profit) from one of the two people who depress the hell out of me

Week after week, day after day Bob Bly gives sound advice. Here is what he says about what you get for what you pay

Two people make me feel useless. One – Denny Hatch  – is older than me, and really should  do me a favour and retire to save me embarrassment.

His Target Marketing column keeps telling me things I have forgotten or never knew.

The other – Bob Bly – is younger, but I have been learning from him for decades when I always feel it should be the other way round.

Here he is on one of today’s most fatuous marketing fads – content marketing.

How the hell anyone in the last few thousand years did any selling without content quite escapes me. Maybe you can explain, but here is Bob on what really matters.

It is well worth reading because, as with almost everything he writes, it is utterly practical, grounded in fact, not fancy.

“Content marketing is one of the big hot trends in marketing

But there’s a dirty little secret the content marketing
evangelists won’t tell you — either because they don’t know or
fear it will reduce their value if revealed.

Namely, the more generous your free content offer, the worse
the quality of the leads your content marketing campaign will

Decades ago, Ed Nash articulated the notion that lead quality
and lead quantity are inversely proportional.

If you use tactics that boost lead quantity, you get all those
extra inquiries at the expense of lead quality, because the
tactics attract responses from people who like the free offer
but are not necessarily potential customers.

Conversely, the more you do to qualify the leads your marketing
generates, the better the quality of those leads, but the fewer
you get.

Marketing with freebie offers, whether the giveaway is content
or merchandise, is a tactic that carries with it the danger of
boosting lead quantity — i.e., creating hoards of people who
want your free white paper — at the expense of lead quality.

For instance, I once saw a promotion aimed at farmers to get
them to refer their neighbor farmers to the marketer. The
offer: give us the names of 3 neighbors who buy seed for their
farms and we will send your son a free football.

The marketer was flooded with response. But salespeople
reported that most of the referral names were in fact not seed
buyers nor farmers — and those who were had no interest in
speaking to a sales rep … and in fact resented their neighbor
for giving up their name.

This campaign was submitted to a Caples Award contest in which I was a judge, which was where I saw it. Of course it did not win.

My friend Sy Sperling, founder of the Hair Club for Men (HCM),
said they ran a free content offer on TV where they gave away a $15 book on hair loss. Result: a flood of freeloaders requesting
the book, almost none of whom had any interest in coming into
HCM for a free consultation.

Clearly, free content offers run the risk of requiring you to
give away valuable material to people with no interest in what
you are selling.

How can you make content marketing work better, and get requests for info from genuine prospects instead of deadbeats?

Here are a few suggestions:

>> Make the content of your white paper or special report narrow and specific. Reason: Very few people will download a guide on ”How to Size a Valve” unless they are valve buyers.

>> On the landing page where they can register to download or
request your content, have two boxes to check — one offering
free content and a second offering a free brochure on your
product or service. Those who just request the content without
also asking for product or service information are not good

>> Ask qualifying questions requiring mandatory answers on the landing page. Yes, for each additional field, you will reduce
conversion rate by about 10%. But you will also know from the
answers whether the person is a potential customer or just a
content moocher.

>> In your e-mail or other lead-generating sales copy, stress
the product or service, not the free content offer. Relegate the
free content offer to a secondary position in the copy, perhaps
in the closing paragraphs or a PS. This way, people respond to
your promotion primarily because of their interest in your
product and only secondarily to get the freebie.

>> Conversely, if you build your ad or other promotion around
the free content offer primarily or exclusively, up to 90% of
respondents will be interested only in your freebie, giving you
extremely unqualified inquiries and poor lead quality. However,
this gambit can be profitable with a low cost-per-lead.

For instance, we did a content campaign offering a free e-book
through an ad in an online newsletter. We paid $1,000 for the ad
and got over 100 downloads, giving us a cost per inquiry below

Let’s be ultra conservative and say only 10% of those download
requests were from actual prospects (I believe it was closer to
20%). That would give us a cost per lead (a lead being an
inquiry from a qualified prospect) of $100 — which given the
high cost of the service was still very profitable.”


I would only add one thought, which is that people rarely enquire unless they have some interest, however slight. So it can sometimes pay to get a lot of weak leads because among the dross there may be pearls.

Whether this is the case depends on the profit margin on what you are selling. If you have a big margin you can afford to keep chasing even weak leads. And of course chasing people via email is nigh-on free.


Would I like to work for Lloyds Bank? And whatever happened to doing your homework?

Even amongst the waves of meaningless pap that pour into my inbox, this asinine email from a job-slob stood out for sheer sloth and incompetence

I guess you, like me, get the usual crop of inane waffle in your inbox.

For instance today I was asked “Drayton, how effective are you at engaging with your database?” – which aroused an extraordinary level of irritation considering I haven’t a hangover.

But entertainment to soothe my savage breast came in the form of a wag who wrote offering me a job at Lloyd’s Bank:

From: Andrew Southall <Andrew.Southall@imsworldwide.uk.com>
Date: 17 July 2014 16:22:04 BST
To: “db@draytonbird.com” <db@draytonbird.com>
Subject: RE: Website

Hi Drayton,

Hope you’re well. I came across your website and twitter profile while recruiting for a role that may be of interest to you. I’m recruiting on behalf of Lloyds Banking Group as we change the major websites that they operate through as a part of the Digital Transformation programme, providing new services to customers and making the bank more accessible and up to date, much like other large companies like EE, Sainsbury’s and so forth.

If it is of interest do get back to me as soon as you can and send me an updated copy of your CV as well as confirming that you are happy to go forward.

I read on, panting with excitement to learn that the job pays up to £180 per day, and “this particular resource” (me) would be a content editor for six months or more.

During that time I would “Execute timely and accurate delivery of content changes to Lloyds / HBOS branded secure and non secure sites, via Teamsite content management system.

And I would Work closely with Customer Experience Site Managers and onsite ecommerce in interpreting copy and layout changes to turn these into quality content.

I suspect my wrist would be slapped if I failed to Follow governance processes in place and ensure accurate documentation of change for audit trail. Ensuring the website adheres to standards and guidelines: Brand guidelines, DDA, site structure, tone of voice, performance, legal & compliance.”

No wonder, for I would also have “Responsibility for applying due diligence to authorise changes to the Live websites.”

And for my £180 a day I would “Provide consultancy services on content change both within digital and across the wider content population as Subject Matter Experts”.

There was yet more.

“The role holder” (me again) would be responsible for making timely and accurate content changes to the public and secure websites ranging from small content changes to working on large project pieces.
In addition to the day to day responsibilities the role holder will need to be able to:
• Work to agreed timescales and manage own workload.
• Work well under pressure
• Manage stakeholder expectations
• Have a very high level of attention to detail. Accuracy is vital.
• Work well as part of a team.

But there was still yet more. I would also need:

Experience with Content Management Systems (CMS), as well an understanding of basic HTML code.

And I would be good at Teamworking. And need
• Basic Technical knowledge of the web and HTML.
• Basic knowledge of TeamSite or another CMS.
• Taking ownership of change and seeing it through.
• Managing stakeholders and meeting expectations.
• Self Organisation

What brought a wry smile was the news that “Ideally someone with web experience would preferable.”

I assume the missing “be” was just to see if I was paying attention, but essentially this was like digging through the stinking literary garbage found in the intellectual dustbins of commerce.”

And would I like to “go forward”? I’d run a bloody mile. Three days, never mind six months working with people who talk like that would drive any normal person to self-harm and perhaps suicide.

As you can imagine, my P.A., the redoubtable Kelly couldn’t wait to alert me to this opportunity.

But as you can also imagine, either Mr. Southall never really looked at my website or is too thick to comprehend that the person it is named after just isn’t up to the demands of a job like that.

Kelly, however, got a lot of laughs out of it all – especially when I told her that in 1986 I actually introduced Lloyds Bank to the joys of direct marketing.

Only estate agents are more useless than recruitment agencies.

The decline of advertising in 52 years and two pictures

From one of the best advertising campaigns ever to a deer in the headlights. Where did it all go wrong?

avis2Picture 001


Being an old fart I cannot resist the thought, manfully though I try, that things were better in my day.

This is, by and large, all balls for a number of reasons.

I doubt if many people now live the way folks did 58 years ago when  I moved into my house at number 175, Katherine Street, Ashton under Lyne (£775 freehold – and we overpaid).

The toilet was outside in the yard, where I used to fall asleep after too much Lutomer Reisling (40p a bottle) and where my wife Pam hung the washing. The yard, I mean, not the toilet. The washing would get covered with little black spots from all the coal fires.

We were the only ones in our row with a bath, which our neighbours would come and ask to use.

We were thrilled with our little black and white TV and its two channels (for some reason many of the programmes assumed you were not an illiterate moron).

Another reason it’s balls is simple. To my surprise, it’s still my day, so to speak.

The internet whiz Doberman Dan rang me up the other day to talk about doing a podcast. He asked if I still write copy. I do – in fact I wrote three pieces that morning.

I am tempted to say I’m not as good as I once was but I’m as good once as I ever was, though that’s open to debate.

More to the point, I think there has been a precipitous decline in advertising since 1952 when Doyle Dane Bernbach produced the ad on the left until now when the load of steaming crap on the right was excreted by some witless crew and approved by a “Chief Creative Officer”.

The slogan “We Try Harder” – one of the best ever written – was used for 50 years before a re-branding in 2012. At that point Avis – or whichever incompetents they overpaid – devised a new slogan, “It’s Your Space.”

Hello? Did they decide to go into the real estate business? Who knows? But you can be damn sure of three things.

First, there were lots of meetings involving far too many people with tiny brains, no knowledge of  communication and nothing better to do.

Second, a huge pile of jargon-encrusted waffle was produced to justify this inane decision.

And third those responsible were idiots.

If you want to know why those old ads were good, why Avis shot from nowhere to success, and what’s wrong with business today read “Up the Organisation” by Robert Townsend. One of the wisest, shortest and most entertaining books about business ever written.

In 1966 and later I worked with people from Doyle Dane Bernbach and Ogilvy who were in those agencies in that Golden Age. They helped turn me into someone who can still write copy that sells after 50-odd years.

If you want to know what I know join me in October in London.

The gentle art of polishing turds, as practiced by banks

Naive delusions cherished by the ignorant: what advertising can and cannot do

Heartless or Heartfelt??

Heartless or Heartfelt?

As we have discovered to our cost, bankers may not be in the same category as paedophiles, but they do tend far too often to be grasping soulless bastards.

No doubt you like me wonder why none – in this country anyhow – have landed in jail so far. Some major culprits still being paid millions to do a very bad job.

Mr Jenkins at Barclays seems a prime example. It is about a year since he famously said “We must never again be in a position of rewarding people for making the bank money in a way which is inconsistent with our values”.

These cherished values have just resulted in the bank being accused by the New York Attorney General of a “Flagrant pattern of fraud, deception and dishonesty.”

Either Mr.Jenkins is bloody useless as he didn’t know what was going on under his nose, or bloody dishonest as he allowed it to happen. But why should he care? He was due to get £4m in shares last February as a reward for whichever characteristic is correct.

Evidence of just how clueless top bankers are emerged a few days ago when I read that top bankers have just decided it’s important to simplify things.

Anyone who ever bought a hamburger at McDonalds or a book on Amazon – anyone with even a passing understanding of business – knows how vital it is to make things easy for customers. But these overpaid, smug bozos have only just latched on.

They are also among the many who don’t really understand what advertising can and cannot do. It cannot, for instance, change the facts.

Ever since the great 2008 catastrophe they have been strengthening their balance sheets – which they must to avoid another disaster. So they haven’t been lending, and everyone has noticed. Some have run ad campaigns claiming they do, using selective examples. This won’t work if most people know damn well that they don’t.

Others have decided that all you have to do is claim you are nice and everyone will believe you. A good example is the poster illustrated, which I saw in New Jersey recently. I reviewed itt last month in AskDrayton, with a number of others. It’s actually rather good advertising – but the fatal flaw I mentioned: nobody will believe it.

And the other day – which prompted this effusion – I read that Commbank in Australia, which has been up to all the usual dirty tricks, is running a campaign that purports to show they’re human. It won’t work. Turds are turds and banks – for the most part – appear to be run by overpaid, grasping shits.

They should save their money and put it into doing a better job for customers.

By the way, if you want to know the seven things you must excel at to succeed in this wicked world, they are listed at the start of this page.

How to survive the most terrifying thing apart from meeting a big, nasty poisonous snake that wants to kill you

A friend has to make a speech. He asked me for advice yesterday. Here it is

Sheer terror! I know damn well how Carl feels – because I was so terrified of speaking in public.

I couldn’t pluck up the courage till I was 41.

And even then it took desperation, two tranquillisers and a couple of large brandies. It’s surprising I didn’t fall asleep before the audience. But I survived – and they liked it. In fact I have now spoken in over 50 countries without being physically attacked.

So here’s the advice I gave Carl.

1. Have a theme, not just a series of slides. For instance I am doing a talk in Sweden in 10 days to chief executives in the food industry. My theme is that marketing people don’t study. State your theme at the start, proceed to justify and enlarge on it then restate or sum up the solution at the end.

2. Give examples. One example is worth a ton of exhortations. In a talk I did in Portugal last week I suggested that marketing lacks the discipline of proper professions like the law. Then I gave seven ways in which marketers fail, with examples. I also give examples from the past and from other countries and businesses.

3. Wherever possible use pictures, with as few words as possible. For instance I use a picture of the stele of Hammurabi, the first law giver, when pointing out that the history of marketing is very short – the word was first used in 1908.

4. Quote authorities. I quote all sorts of people in my talks. In my next talk, two French writers and an American philosopher. This gives a degree of gravity and shows you are a serious, thoughtful person who has done his homework.

5. If you can, be funny. This is far easier than it sounds. All you have to do is show stupid ads or commercials. There are thousands online. No need to make any jokes. They do it for you. My partner Timo – a Finn -  sent me a quick video about Sweden yesterday which made me laugh out loud. He didn’t have to say “this is funny”. The best comedians have straight faces (I am not very good – laugh at my own jokes).

6. Rehearse until you know exactly what you want to say. I spend weeks thinking about any presentation I make. I don’t sit down and do so. It is on my mind and I just keep coming back to it. One of the best speakers I know of – a former chairman of Ogilvy & Mather – told a friend that it took him two days to deliver a 30 minute speech.

7. As with an advertisement or any other message, the beginning is crucial. I give great thought to how I will begin, as people decide whether they like you within 30 seconds. I usually have several alternatives in mind. The easiest and simplest is a very loud Good morning! – with a smile and a pause. That is surprisingly effective.

8. Use notes if you like. David Ogilvy often did. But don’t just look down and read them out. Pause after you’ve read something, and look at the audience. You must rake the audience with your eyes, like the guns of a battleship, so they feel included.

9. Speaking is frightening – unless you’re a conceited ass. I still worry after hundreds of speeches. The minute you stop worrying you’re in trouble (which applies to everything in my view). You may be tempted to get it over with as quickly as possible – and start gabbling. Don’t. Within reason, the slower the better.

10. Take great note of the context. Take the previous speakers: what did they say? If someone else said something good, say so. People will like you for doing so. The room, the audience. Who are they? How can you involve them? What are they worried about? You must find out when you are asked to speak. Speeches – in the business context – are just like marketing. What is the problem? How can you help solve it?

But I do not consider myself an expert, so I also suggested this to Carl:

But when he is back he will send you a copy of a video we recorded of Andy Bounds last week.

He taught me a lot about public speaking.

It is part of the AndyBoundsonline.com series we have put together. Yours to profit from.

A desperate plea for help: IT masochist needed

Wanted for nightmare part-time job: a pointy-head as good as Anthony

Do you understand – really understand – the dark mysteries of the internet?

Can you imagine what it’s like to work for someone who doesn’t have the vaguest idea – yet expects you to rescue him and his colleagues from all manner of tragedies, cock-ups and last minute panics?

Can you imagine this loopy old fool would have the nerve to contact you at crazy hours and expect you to work your magic?

And that he and his colleagues may contact you at weekends – because they often work then too?

And can you believe these horrors are not even that well paid?

Anthony has put up with all that – and more.

He was only 22 when he began. Now after three years he looks a rather tired 85.

He’s saved us from countless disasters.

He’s very polite, amazingly quick, slightly mad and very forgiving – because he says he’s enjoyed the ride.

I have no idea what he’s been doing or how hard it is, but he says “the hours are unpredictable, but the work isn’t especially taxing – just time consuming sometimes”.

This is only true if you can do all this – very well and very quickly.

- Set up, manage, and tinker with WordPress sites

- Help with products we sell through PayPal using custom buttons, subscription payments etc.

- Proof read emails we send out every day

- Send broadcast emails and set up auto-responders using services like Aweber and iContact

- Manage orders in Clickbank

- Convert videos from one format to another, so they’re OK for playing on the web

- Upload and manage files on Amazon S3

- Be comfortable with FTP, website hosting, cPanel and making small changes to databases using PHPMyAdmin

- Know enough HTML and CSS to set up stand-alone landing pages

- Occasionally find a Javascript or PHP snippet and make it work on a landing page.

- Also very occasional minor video editing.

- Plus a thing called Fast Member that none of us have a clue about except him

- And be able to write decent English

- All this takes the marvellous Anthony 15 hours a week

What’s the upside?

Well, the business is quite interesting.

You never have to come to the office – we don’t have a proper one. In fact you can do this from anywhere.

I don’t give a hoot what age you are – or anything else except whether you can do all the above and are literate.

We’re among the best in the world at what we do.

And if you want to succeed in marketing – well, this is a pretty good place to learn.

Many people who started with me have gone on to become remarkably successful all over the world.

I always listen to suggestions and promote talent.

You may find us good fun.

So if what you’ve read interests you, email kelly@draytonbird.com.

Do it now, as we tend to get a lot of replies when we advertise jobs.

The blog he didn’t dare to run: a sad story for you about corporate cowardice

Would this 10 point guide to modern marketing upset you? I hope not.

A friend wrote what follows for his firm’s blog. But he decided they’d never let him run it. Too true to be funny. I think it’s marvellous. How about you?


A 10-point guide to modern marketing

1. Do not, under any circumstances, try to sell anything to people. Selling is a relic of the 20th century, like humility or non-online porn.

 2. You must not ‘interrupt’ people with your marketing. People must grant you permission before you are allowed to not sell something to them.

3. Whatever it is that you create, make sure it is shareable. The best way to do this is to present it in bite-sized pieces. Like a fun-size Mars bar. Except they’re not shareable, come to think of it. Er, forget that analogy.

4. The ultimate aim of being shared is to go viral. Exposing yourself to as many people as possible is the goal. So, in summary: selling = evil; shameless global exhibitionism = good.

5. No matter what you communicate about your business, you must make sure that it adds value. A good way to add value is to write blog posts about how important it is to add value.

6. Modern marketing is all about engagement. You can ‘build’ engagement or ‘grow’ engagement, but the best way to achieve an embiggening of engagement is to ‘drive’ it.

7. Make sure that your marketing efforts are in alignment. With what, you ask? With everything: your culture, your values, your vision, and your mission. If you don’t have any of these, just steal them from another company; they’re the same for every business.

8. Don’t get caught up ‘doing’ things. Instead, you should plan things or, even better, strategise things. Only low-paid chumps do things.

9. An excellent way to avoid doing things is to automate them. Need to measure something? Automate it. Customer service? Automate that shit too. And if you need some writing done, there are thousands of monkeys on thousands of keyboards out there. Hire one. Hell, hire them all – they work for nothing.

10. Whatever business you’re in, you must be innovative. The only thing you can’t be innovative about is using another word for ‘innovative’, because it is mandatory. Say you’re innovative. Then say you’re innovative again. Innovative.





The misunderstanding that sends so many marketers charging off in the wrong direction

Why don’t you watch, read, or listen to all that stuff? And why do people persist in boring you? With a free 18.52 minute mini-seminar if you want to know more

Last week a lady called Linda who sells a hobby, but not that successfully, sent me four emails, one of which read:

“Several friends of mine ramble on about the 60 minute ads on the telly. I have other things to do with my time besides watching the ads.”

I thought she was quite right, but I replied saying:

I have read all four of your emails, Linda.

The other three I cannot comment on as I have not seen your creative material and do not know your market.

However, I will now address this one about long ads.

1. Nobody sane wants to watch a 60 minute ad. Unless …

2. They are likely to be interested …

3. In a product or service relevant enough for them to pay attention.

If that is the case, people will read/listen/watch an awful lot more than 60 minutes.

Perhaps your prospects – who seem to be older people  - might read a great deal about the hobby you sell. It may be fairly trivial but it could be interesting to enough of them to make your messages profitable.

There are certainly hordes of older, bored people with time on their hands. I had a client years ago who sold knitting patterns. They made a fortune.

May I cite some subjects interesting enough for people all over the world to watch commercials an hour long – and longer?

1. Investment – and anything to do with making money

2. Health - especially  things like slimming

3. Self improvement (Have you heard of Anthony Robbins?)

A couple of months back I sent out an email – which took me well under half an hour to write – suggesting people on my list watch an online webinar which was four hours long.

It was about marketing. 

Very few bothered. 

But enough did to give me $2754 commission.

Not bad for a few minutes’ work.

But first you must understand that you don’t have to appeal to all the people all the time.

Just some of the right people for enough of the time with the right copy.

That is what real marketing is about.

Now as chance would have it last week I recorded a video lasting 18.52 minutes on this misunderstanding – and two others that must cost people millions, maybe billions, every year.

If you were away on a bank holiday jaunt you’ll have missed it, so it’s here.

Have a look. You can stop watching whenever you like. I won’t mind.

And if you have questions you want answering, I always try to reply.

Wise words from the Sage of New Jersey – and a film of David Ogilvy

Bob Bly comments on the folly of two witless copywriters who are, I am ashamed to say, British

Bob Bly is one of the best copywriters in the U.S. I have learned a lot from him – though I believe he is quite a few years younger than me. Here’s something he wrote a day or so ago.

He was commenting on the rift between people like us who sell and people who don’t. At the end of this blog there is an extract from a film of David Ogilvy talking to new managers at Ogilvy & Mather.

He mentions me – which is quite funny – but even funnier is the way he demolishes the pretensions of buffoons like the two Bob refers to.

I was recently irritated by two UK copywriters, NH and MF, who
lurk on a LinkedIn copywriting forum and spend a lot of time
bashing what I do, which is direct marketing (DM) — often also
called direct response (DR).

NH calls direct response advertising “huckster crap” and
grudgingly admits that some young copywriters today are moving
to DM only because “in some markets it works.” But he doesn’t
think much about those markets or writers.

I explained to NH that I find the opposite: youngsters today
are fleeing from DM, preferring more trendy marketing channels
including SEO, blogging, content marketing, and social media.

Why? Because direct response sells — and both new media
evangelists as well as many old-school Madison Avenue
copywriters alike seem to find selling somewhat shameful … as
incredible as that sounds.

Also, in DM, copywriters who don’t know how to sell are naked
and exposed.

In direct response, the results of your efforts can be measured
down to the penny.

And a lot of writers hate that, because when their stuff doesn’t
work, they are unmasked as the poseurs they are.

I agree with MF’s observation that many youngsters flee DM “as
it is seen as the unsexy side of advertising.”

But I cannot fathom why copywriter MF says, and so many
copywriters agree, that “It’s more fun to work on big budget ads
and TV … some would rather enjoy their working life building a
brand rather than a bank balance.”

If indulging your creative whims on the most elaborate and
expensive ad campaigns you can conceive, and then explaining to
the client why their sales did not go up as you flushed their
millions down the toilet, is fun — then yes, I guess branding is

To MF I say: Hey dummy, do you understand that companies pay you
to build their brands precisely because they also want to build
their bank balance, otherwise known as the bottom line?

MF concludes: “DM has its place, but it’s usually only those
creatives who don’t succeed in above-the-line advertising who
find themselves sucked into it.”

I will offer a contrary view: The best copywriters who, by
definition, are tops at generating sales, are drawn to DM
because they can see immediate rewards for themselves and their

Often the worst copywriters go into branding and above-the-line
advertising because, with no accountability, these hacks lack
the selling chops to get consumers to actually buy their
clients’ products — and in general advertising, they can get away
with it.

Then NH kicks his demonstrated stupidity into higher gear. He
writes: “America being so much bigger than the UK must have a
large simple-minded underclass who will still respond to DM’s
crude promises and hand over money for stuff they really don’t
need or can’t afford, be it a lawn mower or an insurance

Let’s break down NH’s moronic utterance: First, he insults our
vast middle class by calling us simple-minded. I have seen no
data supporting the assertion that the American middle class is
not as intelligent as the middle class in Europe or the Far

Second, he accuses DM of selling stuff people don’t really need.

The fact is, products fall into two categories: must-have and
nice-to-have — the latter being, as NH calls it, stuff people
don’t really need.

I ask: What is wrong with selling products that people want and
are nice to have? The reality is that most products are in this
category. And sellers of nice-to-have products advertise heavily
and actively with both direct marketing and general advertising.

For instance, most luxury cars are sold using TV commercials,
full-page color magazine ads, and the Internet.

Consumers don’t need luxury cars, because a Toyota driven at 60
mph will get you to work just as quickly as a BMW driven 60 mph.
As a Prius owner, I have proven this through testing.

And, luxury car advertising is selling stuff that consumers
clearly cannot afford. The proof: approximately 90% of consumers
cannot buy their cars without a loan. And if you can’t afford to
pay cash for your car, then I contend that car is too expensive
for you.

The last word on creativity in advertising vs. selling in
advertising? David Ogilvy, my copywriting hero and NH’s former
boss, whom NH frequently denigrates: “If it doesn’t sell, it
isn’t creative.”


Bob Bly

P.S. I also find it odd that NH cites a lawn mower as stuff you
don’t really need.

If you have a lawn and are not willing to pay a premium price to
a lawn service to cut your grass, as I do, then you in fact do
need the mower.

In many U.S. towns, you will get notices and fines if your lawn
grows out of control. And you will alienate your neighbors.

Word to NH and other writers: When you get the facts wrong,
people’s belief in the accuracy of your arguments quickly plummets. 

The best thinker on brands was the late Professor Andrew Ehrenberg, whose research over decades revealed that the strongest brands are the ones with the most customers. That means if you don’t sell, you don’t build a brand.

Here’s a few minutes of David Ogilvy

Free lunch! Announcing the worst website in the world contest: Shard brings new meaning to the word “clueless”

How to free your posh restaurant from irritating, demanding customers who clutter it up by eating, drinking, wasting the staff’s time and paying you.

Shard mystery
I know I keep harping on about how bloody useless most marketers are, but even 50 odd years of looking at the work of f**wits hadn’t prepared me for this little lulu.

This is the website for the restaurant at the top of London’s highest and most pointless building, the Shard. And does it fit in with the monster’s brand values? You bet your life! Because it too is utterly pointless.

Utterly illegible ? Check! Hard to see how to book? Check! No reasons given for going there? Check! Absolutely no appetite appeal? Check! Website designer hopelessly lost 3 miles up his own back passage? Check! All involved need to rush down to the nearest Optometrist? Check! Client deserves good kicking for approving the whole ghastly mess, just before being thrown off the top of the building? Check!

It is actually possible to see that these details are there, carefully reversed out over the meaningless picture. But I never noticed them when I was sent the illustration by a kindly friend. I just wrote back saying “Is that it?”

If you can show me a worse website, I will either: a) stand  you lunch in either Bristol or London – assuming you can stand my company 0r b) pay for lunch for you and a partner wherever you happen to live.

The only qualification  is that it has to be a serious professional business, not something thrown together by a home laundry in Uttar Pradesh. (Not that I’m suggesting the clowns who put this abortion together are professional).