Milwaukee Marketing Results

Of Course: Eat or Be Eaten

Posted by Robert Jarzen on Nov 22, 2016 10:58:00 AM
Robert Jarzen

I’m happy I’m not a turkey. Especially around this time. There seems to be a lot of turkeys showing their head this year. Some of those self professed "big birds" feel they know everything and have to weigh in with their opinion without even being asked. And it’s very easy to be “eaten” alive under all the false hoods that prevail in today’s society of instant social gratification.

When I was younger, before I knew any better, I used to write to everybody. I would write to celebrities and ask their advice on whether to move to New York or LA. Or I’d write and ask questions about their careers, looking for guidance.

I wrote to Frank Sinatra. No response. I wrote to then President Richard Nixon. I got his autograph. I wrote to the cast of “Welcome Back Kotter”… and got all their autographs on issue #1 of their comic. (I was also an entrepreneur. I knew that would increase the value of a worthless comic. Today, without the autographs, worth a mere $3. With autographs, appraised at over $600.) I wrote to lesser names too, and some of these people actually met with me in New York and in one way or another guided my career.

I recently wrote (’s easier today, with Twitter) to Perry Farrel of Janes Addiction.

He responded:

... and so it got me thinking, advertising is kind of like that. Eat or be Eaten.

How, in today’s cluttered world of Christmas music before even Thanksgiving, do you stay relevant?

Here’s my top three ways to keep from being eaten in the advertising diner of life:

1.      Stay top of mind: When promoting your message, make sure the benefit to the listener is clear and easily understood.

2.      Keep it Simple: According to a 2015 study by Microsoft, the average person’s attention span is now only 8 seconds. Think about how even technology forces us to keep it simple. Twitter, only 140 characters. Emojis; no words at all. Instagram; upload one picture at a time.

3.      The Rule of Three: Comedians know that three is funnier than two. Writers know three is more dramatic than four. Every great movie or play has a three act structure for a reason. There were three Stooges, not four. Always highlight the three most important things to communicate your brand to the consumer. Think about it this way: the best web site’s I see have three core functions. Discover. Find. Shop.

It’s a crowded world out there with varying opinions. To stand out you need to either “Eat or be Eaten”. But remember, underlying all of that you still need to reconcile with your moral compass. And that means if the things you say are vile, or un-true, or hurtful… then you’re only perpetuating the myth that advertising is all lies.

David Ogilvy said it best: 

 “Never write an advertisement which you wouldn't want your family to read. You wouldn't tell lies to your own wife. Don't tell them to mine.“

Now. Enjoy that turkey and pass the advertising gravy.

Topics: advertising, writing

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