8, 2002 Volume 1 Issue 31
Madison Avenue through the Centuries ...
13 not so serious marketing opportunities
Madison Avenue is "advertising row" in New York City USA.
Any agency worth anything has an office someplace on the Avenue. If they
don't they wish they did. And are saving today to move tomorrow.
Now, that said, I thought a different way to begin 2002 and this
E-zine is to have some fun. Not at the expensive of Madison Avenue. I
will not toss a bag of bolts at any company, organization, association.
Certainly nothing negative about any person or group of people.
Instead, let's look at a collection of products. Products that came down
the pipeline through the ages that would have been a brand and grand challenge
for any advertiser, any marketer.
All these are products we use, or have used, or will use. At the same
time they're products we don't "think about". We just use them.
Let's begin with ... not so serious marketing opportunity #1 ...
The exact date is unknown, yet, sometime around 3000B.C. (that is 5000
years ago!) toothpaste was invented.
The first thing that pops into mind is what did they do before toothpaste?
And were there dentists? If "yes", where these guys busier than
DDS today - or less so? I did not do the research to learn any of this
- I just thought it.
Today "everyone" uses toothpaste in some format. Even those
with false teeth have a product they use to clean. Still, thinking back,
how would you introduce a product that had never been thought of or used
before? Big time challenge.
Not so serious marketing opportunity #2 is paper.
"Yes", paper. In about 105A.D. paper was created. It was the
beginning of the end of tablets, a hammer and chisel to keep track of
things. Big time move ... although it didn't catch on for a while.
As a side bar, the idea of paper going away is ridiculous. Computers
and all the electronic files in the world will not replace a mobile document
you hold in you hand, move about with and share with others.
The day of the paperless office is the same day as the paperless bathroom
- it is not going to happen.
Well, not so serious marketing opportunity #3 didn't happen until
the year 1565 when the pencil was invented. This move helped put paper
on the map.
Paper came fairly early in our "modern" age. Yet, how did you
write on it? Charcoal was used. And light stone with red ink or dye or
coloring from plants. Yet, it really wasn't until graphite came on the
scene that paper and pencil came together to mean something.
As I recall, the part of the pencil that makes the mark on paper, the
lead, was first discovered in what we today call Scotland.
Want to learn more about pencils? There is a museum dedicated to its'
history in London.
Not so serious marketing opportunity #4 is the typewriter in 1898.
You may say that was a big time move ... and you could be right. Yet,
think about it from a Madison Avenue perspective. How would you convince
a potential marketplace that a keyboard that ran QWERTYUIOP made any sense?
This is a sexist thought ... I'm going to share it anyway; a century
ago far fewer women were in the office work force. It was not the thing
ladies did - work outside the home. This thought was strong until WWII.
And then continued through the 1960's, with typing "perceived"
as a woman's job. Men didn't do such a thing.
Now, how would you sell typewriters as a new product in 1898?
Not so serious marketing opportunity #5 began as a product in
It ties with paper / pencils / typewriters. It is the Post-It Note from
the 3M company, headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. With offices
today just about everywhere, and tens of thousands of products distributed
Many of us remember 1980. The year Ted Turned tossed a satellite up and
named it CNN. The year Ronald Reagan became President of the USA. Margaret
Thatcher was doing her thing in the UK. The year Post-It Notes came into
being. What a year!
Not so serious marketing opportunity #6 is the can opener.
That in itself is nothing more than interesting. Especially since the
year is 1813. I didn't know we had cans in 1813 ... and would need a can
I then got to thinking about it. Horseshoes and guns and ships and cutting
tools had been around for a while. Besides, jars had been about since
Egyptian history, if not earlier. So, it made sense for someone to put
those two thoughts together ... a container to hold stuff, and metal,
and thus a can. Soon the can opener.
Just as marketing opportunities #2-3-4-5 went together as a series, so
does this next group. Beginning with not so serious marketing opportunity
#7. The product is called a battery ... invented in the 1790's.
What is unknown (earlier I shared with you I did not do in-depth research
on the details for this article ... surface looks only) is WHY anyone
thought we needed a battery. How and where were batteries used?
Knowing how competitive the battery marketplace is today, and how poorly
we feel some batteries work (i.e., the one in my laptop!) one wonders
how Madison Avenue of the late 18th Century marketed the product.
Next in this group is not so serious marketing opportunity #8,
Here is another product you could say changed the world. There is no
doubt it has had an impact of great dimension. Still, in the year 1827
it had to be a tough Madison Avenue sell.
History shows us pictures of pictures being taken. With gun-powder for
flash. The grainy black and white results look "neat" today.
Then it was all you got.
Today the camera uses batteries and light bulbs (see #9). How long it
took to mesh these products into a single unit I have no idea. You would
think it would have happened sooner, rather than later. It did not.
Yet, 175 years ago photography was truly unknown. What was it good for?
Why would you want a picture of anything or anyone?
Then comes not so serious marketing opportunity #9, the light
bulb. Another product that has a major place in world history.
For centuries candles had done the job. Early to bed and early to rise
was the way you got the most out of the day. The world worked as an agricultural
economy. Entertainment was home grown. Light after the sun went down wasn't
In 1879 Thomas Edison, who was afraid of the dark, invented the light
bulb. And things changed.
Think about it: what would you do with light bulbs in 1879? Lamps did
not exist. Wires did not connect anything. What would you do to excite
the marketplace about light bulbs?
The last in this group, not so serious marketing opportunity #10 is
the flashlight. Which came about 1898 - a century after the battery. And
2 decades after the light bulb. Why did it take so long to bring them
Today we still have good and bad flashlights. Sometimes they work, sometimes
they don't. Most of the time (at least at my house) they sit and sit and
sit for so long the batteries are dead. And when you need the flashlight
to work, it doesn't.
Even today, how does Madison Avenue sell a product no one really wants
- any more than they want insurance?
Not so serious marketing opportunity #11 and not so serious
marketing opportunity #12 are a pair.
First, in 1890 the zipper was invented. Next, in the early 1940's, the
fine folks at DuPont, who created "better things for better living
... through chemistry", invented Velcro.
Buttons have held things together for forever. Goes back to weaving,
making cloth and all that jazz. And then the zipper came along. Big time
change in how you put on your pants. And what about suitcases, purses,
containers of all types, styles, shapes, sizes. Zippers become a wonderful
and useful product.
So, why then, after we spend 50 years getting everything zipped - do
we need velcro? I have no idea!
There is a message here; invent it and they will come works when what
you invent is easier to use than closing a door, faster then a speeding
bullet or less expensive then chewing gum. If it doesn't offer a quickly
understood benefit - there's a good chance it is toast.
Speaking of which ... not so serious marketing opportunity #13
is the 1928 invention of sliced bread.
Yes, until that time you cut your bread with a large butcher knife. Or
tore it apart with your hands. And then 12 months before the great depression
began, sliced bread came to our super markets. And wasn't it wonderful.
As I'm writing this article I find another not so serious marketing
opportunity- a bonus for you. The product is the gas mask.
Garrett Morgan and his 10 brothers and sisters were raised in Paris,
Kentucky in the late 1800's. He got a 6th grade education and went to
work. This quiet and observant man noticed that smoke and fumes always
rise in a fire, meaning it is easier to breath at ground level. He put
together a hood, heavy cloth, tubes, a wet sponge and came up, in 1910,
with the first gas mask.
As with most inventions, early sales were tough. It wasn't until 1916
when a construction crew building a tunnel were "gassed", that
gas masks found a place in history.
Well, that's it ... a collection of ideas that had to be hard to sell.
At least in their early life.
See you next week with the 13 Greatest Marketing Happenings
Each E-zine, The Works of Marketing with Ray, has a quote from
the world's most famous philosopher ... Anonymous.
Here's one for all times;
"Silent and listen are spelled with the same six letters! What
does this say?
If you're silent you can listen so much better."
"Quotes with Direction" has been a part of my web site collection
from day one. If you like quotes visit the archives ... www.rayjutkins.com/quotes/.
There's a new batch up every 4 weeks.
The speaking world is picking up momentum after the holidays. Here are
some dates I'm booked into spring;
Tuesday & Wednesday, January 22-23, 2002 - at
an off-site location, Microsoft Great Plains - a special private in-house
"Marketing Boot Camp" as part of the Certified Marketing Executive Association
of Great Plains. Ray will be co-presenting with long time good friend
Thursday, January 24 - The Louisiana Travel
Promotion Association ... Ray speaks as part of their annual event ...
in Monroe, Louisiana. Two special programs ... on Print Advertising and
Database Marketing. Contact Danny Young.
Wednesday & Thursday, March 13 & 14 - the Los
Angeles Direct Marketing Association annual EXPO is back. And Ray is back,
too. He'll run his "usual" (which is not usual at all!) "basic's" program.
For more visit the LADMA
March / April 2002 ... dates tbd - in Central
Europe, Slovenija, Croatia & Bosna i Hercegovina and elsewhere, Ray presents
the basics of Direct Marketing, Web Marketing and more. For specifics
contact Vito Komac or Uros
Mocnik. And watch this space for the exact dates.
March / April 2001 ... dates tbd - in Dhaka,
Bangladesh, Ray returns for a 3-day series of Direct Marketing and Financial
Marketing presentations. E-mail M.Mosharraf
Hossain for details. And watch this space for exact schedule.
Tuesday & Wednesday, April 9 & 10 - again at
an off-site location, Microsoft Great Plains - Ray runs "Marketing Boot
Camp II" as part of the Certified Marketing Executive Association of Great
Plains. Ray will be co-presenting with long time good friend Mac McIntosh.
Thursday & Friday, April 11 & 12 - in Scottsdale,
Arizona, Ray does a repeat performance with the National Association for
Information Destruction - at their annual conference. Speaking at both
their Awards Banquet, and presenting a Lead Generation program to their
membership. Details from Skip Cain.
Late April 2002 ... dates tbd - the FEDMA Congress
... the European group gets into the swing of things with another of their
special events. Ray will join them, bringing a few special events, too.
Contact Alastair Tempest for details.
This is a good time to tell you about my special speaking & product
... when you invite me to speak at your special event, conference
corporate meeting or association gathering, you get your choice of
100 FREE copies of either my book Power Direct Marketing, or
the audio/booklet direct mail package Magic Marketing Minutes.
There is no fine print. For details about Ray speaking at your meeting,
fax him direct at +1+928+244-6148 or phone 1+928+785-9400.
The Postal Worker World
This is an idea from the States that can work in every country around
A nationwide USA campaign is underway to honor postal workers who are
on the front lines daily. In support of carriers, clerks, mailhandlers,
drivers and all those in-between, everyone is being asked to tie navy
blue ribbons round their mailbox posts.
This is a wonderful opportunity to honor postal employees. Another group
we have taken for granted. Yet, many are quiet heroes, and share our commitment
to keep your mail moving. Please tie a blue ribbon around your mailbox
pole ... and spread the word!
No matter where you live.