Why do old songs pop into our heads? Unheard for decades – and often a song we never even liked – there it is, filling the echo chamber of the articulatory loop of working memory in the dorsolateral prefrontal association areas of our brains.
“…smokin’ cigarettes and watchin’ Captain Kannnng-aroo,
now don’t tell meeeeeeee I’ve nothin’ to dooooo….”
I whispered everything I could remember to Google.
Google whispered back, “The Statler Brothers, Flowers on the Wall, 1966. It won the Grammy for ‘Best Performance by a Vocal Group.'”
To get the most out of your ad writer, send them your irrelevant and ridiculous passing thoughts.
Don’t overthink it, and don’t be annoyed when most of your passing thoughts are ignored. Because occasionally, now and then, one of those passing thoughts will morph into a fabulous ad for your business.
I was trying to drive “Captain Kannnng-aroo” from my mind when I heard a little email *ding* from my computer. It was Ken Goodrich, the owner of Goettl (rhymes with kettle).
Ken was thinking about Captain Kangaroo, too.
I turned Ken’s email into a 60-second radio ad.
Captain Kangaroo is the reason I own Goettl Air Conditioning. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. I’m Ken Goodrich. Here’s how it happened. When I was a kid, our family had a big Zenith console television that was about the size of a small hippopotamus or a pony with very short legs. Your family probably had one, too. Anyway, the Captain was always talking about Schwinn bicycles and what made them BETTER than other bicycles. Sitting there cross-legged on the floor, the Captain convinced me to always buy GOOD quality made with REAL craftsmanship because it works better, lasts longer, and saves you money. When it comes to air conditioners, that’s Goettl. But wait, it gets even weirder. I only hire technicians and installers that remind me of Mr. Green Jeans. Happy. Hard working. He just wants you to be happy. Call Goettl. Gee Oh Ee, T-T-L. It’ll keep you cool, but it’s hard to spell. And if you see one of my technicians, ask them for a Goettl flashlight. (Contractor License #) You’ll find the phone number at Goettl.com. Gee Oh Ee, T-T-L dot com.
You’ve heard me say, “Entertainment is the currency that purchases the attention of the public.” And this is an example of that.
Here’s how to take a rambling email from a client and turn it into a highly entertaining ad:
- Open your ad from an interesting angle.
This applies to opening lines as well as headlines in print and online.
How can anyone not listen to an ad that opens with, “Captain Kangaroo is the reason I own Goettl Air Conditioning.”
- Make an entertaining pitch.
Don’t entertain, then pitch. Make the whole pitch entertaining. “…a big Zenith console television that was about the size of a small hippopotamus or a pony with very short legs.”
- Make the reader/listener/viewer see herself in your ad.
“Your family probably had one, too.”
- When appropriate, tell WHY you are the way you are. (Your Genesis story.)
“Sitting there cross-legged on the floor, the Captain convinced me to always buy GOOD quality made with REAL craftsmanship because it works better, lasts longer, and saves you money.”
- Now add “one more thing” as icing to the cake.
“But wait, it gets even weirder. I only hire technicians and installers that remind me of Mr. Green Jeans.”
- Wrap it up in a manner that isn’t painfully predictable.
“And if you see one of my technicians, ask them for a Goettl flashlight.”
Do you need some intellectual exercise? Ask a business friend to share a vivid, childhood memory with you in an email. Don’t tell them what you’re planning to do with it. Just tell them to share a story with you that “taught them a useful lesson they have never forgotten.” And then turn that email into a 60-second radio ad.
Roy H. Williams