10 Things Never to Do in Your Advertising: Number 4

Never conjure an unpleasant mental image.

Fear and disgust work face-to-face, but they often backfire when used in mass media.

Conjure these unpleasant emotions in the minds of the masses and you’ll leave your listeners with a vaguely bad feeling attached to your name.

They’ll want to avoid you, but they won’t be able to recall exactly why.

Here is an example:

         Slash your electricity bill and feel good doing it

         We will help save you money in buckets

Seems innocent enough, however... 

“Slash” is an unpleasant word, carrying the sharp edge of violence.

The script then follows that First Mental Image with “buckets.”

Anyone else seeing blood here?

(Adapted from an article by Roy H. Williams, the Wizard of Ads. Roy teaches the art of persuasion at Wizard Academy, a non-traditional business school... a school for the imaginative, the courageous and the ambitious. You should visit.)