Advertising is a bunch of bologna

My roommate recently got a cat.  Subsequently my apartment value has vastly depreciated.  At least in my eyes.  I’m not really a cat person.  I just don’t find them to be trustworthy animals (on an unrelated note I love pitt-bulls).  If I had things my way, little snowball here would be packing her bags.


But let’s not dwell on things we can’t change.  It’s unhealthy.  To be honest, I’m admittedly a little fond of having a pet, even if it is a cat.  Especially since I don’t have to take care of it.  I feel like a kid having a dog again, it’s fantastic!

Taking pictures of my little friend here aroused some nostalgia in me.  I was reminded of growing up with my dog, Mickey.  Mickey was a lab we got from the pound.  Like most pets she turned out to be quite needy.

There are certain experiences all dog owners have in common.  One of such is trying to get your pet to take medicine.  Mickey would eat anything, she took on a whole stick of butter one night while my family was out to dinner.  But try and give her a pill to take, she’ll spit it out.

The only way to do it is to be deceptive.  Wrap the pill in some cheese or bologna and she’ll eat it without a second thought.

It turns out the principle transcends past feeding pets.  In his book Hey Whipple Squeeze This, Luke Sullivan discusses this principle as it relates to advertising.  At the end of the day, the point of advertising is to help brands sell their products.  But people don’t enjoy being sold to.  If your advertisements are straightforward, highlighting all the magnificent features of your product, you may not find the success you’re looking for.

However, people do like being entertained.  If your ad can make someone laugh, smile, cry, or think, etc. you might be on to something.

Here’s an example my colleague and I created for Alta ski resort.   ForrestYoung_360_Billboard1

We could have raved about the slopes at Alta, the deals they have going on, their staff, etc.  Instead we decided to tell the story of someone who is a winter fanatic.  Who even in July is counting down the days until the first snow fall in November.  This is the kind of person who would ski at Alta.

This was only for a class, but you get the point.  So next time you’re writing an ad, or any kind of content for any kind of brand, make sure you don’t shove information down your audiences throat.  Remember the take away from Frozen my friends, “conceal, don’t reveal”.  In all seriousness though, if you want your audience to come back, practice the bologna principle.  It’s guaranteed to be more satisfactory than actual bologna.  Much more.

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