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Secrets to Subliminal Marketing

I read an interesting article in Parade Magazine a few weeks ago about subliminal advertising. No, I’m not talking about Mr. Subliminal from Saturday Night Live. I’m talking about those subtle ways advertisers are pushing you to buy things without you realizing. Here are some examples from the article:

  • Bigger is better, isn’t it? In comparing a lightweight remote to a heavier one, consumers tend to choose the heavier one because it feels more substantial. Oftentimes, all the difference is a useless wad of aluminum, and the price tag.
  • But it’s tradition. Do you squeeze a lime into your Corona? Why? Because it’s how it’s been done in Mexico for hundreds of years? Wrong. The ritual was started in the ’80s by a bartender who bet he could start a trend.
  • Shop to the beat. When you’re shopping, pay attention to the music. Chances are there’s something calm and slow playing. That’s because stores know you will slow down and spend more if the music’s slow. (That doesn’t explain Old Navy’s loud, fast music, but I don’t think I’m the demographic they’re aiming at anyway).
  • Where’s it from? People put a lot of stock into where a product is from. You want your high-end car to come from Switzerland or Germany, not Romania or Milwaukee. You want your big screen tv to come from Japan, not Little Rock. But is it made better because it’s from those places? You can bet not.
  • Put stock in the shape. Products come in shapes that appeal to us. In the article, the example was given of a diet mayonnaise product that came in two shapes: an hourglass shape and a rounder version. Guess which one the dieting women bought? The one with the shape they wanted to look like, not the round one.

Here’s another example of how stores get you. Have you ever seen a product at the end of the aisle, like a can of corn, that is, say 4 for $1. Maybe this isn’t that great a deal, but then you notice the sign saying “Limit 8.” Suddenly you feel like you need to stock up on corn. It’s all subliminal marketing.

The next time you’re in the store, pay attention to what you’re doing and see if you can catch subliminal marketing at work!

Jingle All the Way to the Bank

While I tend to put heavy emphasis on internet marketing, I have had to admit to myself that old school marketing is still relevant for many types of businesses. So today we’re going to talk about jingles. Those silly, stuck in your head components of tv and radio commercials.

I was driving this morning when I saw a Sara Lee truck, and an age old quandary of mine was solved. I was never sure if the jingle was “Nobody does it like Sara Lee” or “Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee.” The truck told me it was the latter. Good jingle, but difficult to understand.

According to Wikipedia, a jingle is a memorable slogan, set to an engaging melody, mainly broadcast on radio and sometimes on television commercials. Did you know there is a jingle preservation society?

So why and how can a jingle successfully market your business?

  • It’s Memorable. If you can’t get that annoying charming tune out of your head, the next time you buy toilet paper, guess what’s going to be playing in your head and getting you to buy the jingle brand?
  • It’s Clever. There are a lot of bad jingles out there. But the ones that work say something amusing or witty, and those are the ones that work.
  • It Puts the Brand Out There. A jingle should emphasize the brand name clearly. No question.

So if you’re considering a tv or radio commercial, pay a professional to create an effective jingle that will generate interest. Get feedback before you play it on air. Make sure the words are clear (I just read a blog post about a jingle for a burger joint whose jingle sounded more like “boogers.”). Get it perfect before you release it.


Link Love: Seductive Profit-Producing: How to Sell Your Product for 5x its Worth

I came across this amazing post by John-Paul Micek about Jimmy Choo shoes, and how they justify charging $1200 per pair.

Here are a few of the things I picked up that should stimulate you to read it to see where your product fits in:

  • For some products there is what Micek calls “tribal marketing.” There is likely a product you consume (or wear) that when you see someone else wearing/using it you think, “Aha! They’re in the know like me. They are a part of my tribe.” It might be Jimmy Choos, or in my case, New Balance shoes.
  • Quality and price don’t always correspond. I can’t figure out any reason why Jimmy Choos would cost so much. And still look very uncomfortable. But there is a perception of value that tells people that they will have a certain experience if they are willing to pay for it.
  • You create the perception value of your brand. If you want your makeup product to sell cheaply, package it and promote it as such. Or you can take that same brand and build it up into an experience that people are willing to pay 5x more for.

Go read his post and see what I mean.

Local Marketing That Works: Appliance Direct

You’ve all got that local business that has its own celebrity. You know, the funny guy doing his own commercials? The one with the catchy jingle? For Orlando, it’s Appliance Direct.

What started when I first moved here with just one appliance warehouse now has grown to have 20 stores across Florida. What’s so great about an appliance store, you ask?

This guy:

Sam Pak is the CEO of the company, and is on commercials on tv and radio at least 500 times each day. He’s just comical. He and (who I assume is) his wife make you want to watch commercials about fridges and washers. (I once found myself watching a 15 minute infomercial out of pure enjoyment). He puts cakes in dishwashers to demonstrate their ability, and he always holds his hands out and says “New. In the box!” (It’s become a mantra in my family).

The commercials aren’t particularly well done. There’s no fancy music or lighting. It’s just a guy telling you if you didn’t buy from Appliance Direct, you paid too much.

Why it works is:

  1. He’s funny. He might not mean to be, but he is.
  2. Penetration. Everywhere you look, there is Appliance Direct. When your washer breaks, who are you going to think of?
  3. They don’t just say it: they really do have the cheapest appliances in town.

So before you start whining about how you don’t have a big budget for marketing, think about it. It’s not necessary to spend thousands on marketing, it’s just important to do it right.