Same job, different uniform.

Friday, June 30, 2006

girlfriday:get thee a new angle

I rue the day the dairy industry launched its "Got Milk?" campaign. It spawned a generation of unoriginal ad campaigns that nauseate and bore millions of marketing-conscious Americans.

Got Jesus?
Got Plaque?
Got Radiator Problems?
Got gastro-intestinal trouble?

Got an original thought?

Think how effective and refreshing a sign that read, "Do you need a new transmission? We offer transmissions at a fair price" would be. Or, "You're welcome at our church." Or, " First-Time Patients: Free Teeth Cleaning. Call 555-5555."

Cleverness only works if you're clever. If you're a dentist odds are you're not. Remember that your competitors are trying to produce a clever marketing scheme that will attract consumers, and most of them don't know how to do it either. They are resorting to the trite "Got ?" campaigns. Join them and you will be fatally commonplace.

If you don't have the budget or edge to compete with McDonald's' billion dollar advertising campaigns, don't. Offer a good product, sell it professionally and with class. When in doubt remember that less is more.

This goes for email correspondence, letters, websites, news reports, journal entries and notes jotted on paper while driving.

We all try too hard (I do here a lot); we all make marketing mistakes. But failure is no excuse to keep failing. Attempt to write simple, declarative sentence. It hurts, but it's worth it.

If you need help eliminating unnecessary text, Bullfighter is one resource. It is an inconspicuous tool that, with the push of a button, will review your text for "bull." It will even rate your document and explain the rating.

Another helpful document that I've frequently referenced is, "Why Bad Ads Happen to Good Causes." It's hard to overstate the usefulness of Bad Ads, which was originally published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help nonprofits build meaningful public service campaigns. Click here to download it (free).

Extra tip: If you have long-winded friends, Fight the Bull offers a deliciously creepy tool called the Mystery Matador that sends an anonymous message to your troublesome penpal measuring the amount of jargon and verbosity in their document.

That pain they feel is the truth.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

get over it. you want good writing, don't go to modern mass media...the crapsters know that they own most of their listeners, and the badad will elicit the Pavlovian buythis response as well - hell, better, than thoughtful prose. 'He thinks too much, such men are dangerous,' might rightly be said of you and some of your friends, but the rest, the wired gadgetmasters, have mastered little more than the play skills of a most crude society. Their chains are their own unexamined neuroreflexes...the gulag is us, and electrospace is our Siberia.

No, don't get over it. Liberation begins with Girlfriday underground. Solzhenitsyn said that only literature could overthrow the old Soviet system, and eventually that is exactly how it happened. The revolution is in good hands - yours. GTB

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Blogger girlfriday said...

These hands write their fair share of crap. But at least they're not proud of it.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Blogger ihearttexas said...

The beauty of the got milk? campaign, and the downfall of its imitators, is KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid. You just took a bite out of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Got milk? You just ate an oreo. Got milk?

I love the story of how this ad campaign came to be. For years and years market researchers were asking the wrong question about milk: how much do you drink in a day? Who can honestly tell you that? Then some genius figured out that they should be asking with which food items do you drink milk. Then along came got milk?

Don't take out your frustration on on of the most creative ad campaigns our time. Instead direct your ire towards the uncreative creatives working at the ad agencies who have copied these ads. There is some smart thinking behind got milk? and none behind its imitators.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm an advertising major.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Blogger girlfriday said...

I get your point, L.

I rue the day the got milk? campaign launched precisely because it spawned so many copy cats. The campaign, as you lay it out, is very effective.

Its bastard children...not so much.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Blogger Julie said...

The simple declarative sentence.

Oh how I wish I could master it. I'm feeling this post, I am.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


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