July 13, 2004 Volume 4 Issue 4
"I don't know who you are"
Doing this for memory, I may have the date off a year or so. The idea is right-on!
It was about 1957 when McGraw-Hill Magazines, a business, professional and technical publisher, first ran their famous " I don't know who you are"full page black and white advertisement. For themselves ... for their collection of magazines. Purpose; to sell advertising space. Pure and simple - it was an ad written and designed to get additional advertising business.
Look at the time ... the end of the 1950's. Direct mail had been and still is a very strong tool. The telephone - in it's infancy as a telemarketing medium ... yet, it was there. Radio offered direct response. Television had those now famous 30 minute plus unscripted infomercials, selling juice squeezers and the like. Wonderful stuff - those TV times.
And, 'yes', there was print. Couponing was huge. Mostly by retail and suppliers to retailers. Grocery store suppliers from P&G, Coca-Cola, Carnation Foods, Frito-Lay, Kraft Foods and scores more was certainly 'in' . Frequently with coupon packed co-op envelopes ... Red Letter Days was a package. For three years in the early '60's I sold coupon mailings for what became known as MetroMail. Newspapers had 'sections' of coupon offers - the beginning of the free-standing insert. The Sunday papers ran promo headlines of all the dollars you' d save by using the coupons inside that edition.
In this atmosphere McGraw-Hill uses a simple black/white page, with lots of white space, a page that is still with us today. It has no contact information. No tip-in card. No address. No telephone number (800 numbers were not yet on the scene). Nothing. Image, yes. Awareness, yes. Position, yes. Action ... no! It worked then - and it works today.
In the nearly five decades this ad has run the message hasn't changed a single word. Not one. Only the photo of the rough/tough looking purchasing agent has been changed. And that only because the original guy in the chair died. The copy has remained the same even when run in other countries ... such as China. Where they did put a Chinaman in the chair, vs a westerner - yet the text stayed word for word.
Why does this very non-direct ad get and keep all the attention it gets? One reason is repetition. They run it over and over again and again. Repetition builds your reputation. So, McGraw-Hill repeats the message.
Another reason is the message. We all know, even in this very graphic world, where my granddaughters don't know that black/white ever existed, and can't envision life without a remote control, cell phones and everything available 24/7 ... copy still rules when it comes to direct. It has been, it is, it will be - words are where it's at.
These are the McGraw-Hill words;
"I don't know who you are.
MORAL: Sales start before your salesman calls.
Strong stuff, agree?
It's summer time. Many of us, you and me, are traveling.
On the roadways close and far from where we live and work. It's a holiday - a vacation. Or maybe a combined family excursion with some work tossed in.
As we eat up the miles, it is always good to remember of 'traveling' a thought from that famous philosopher, Anonymous;
"The road to ruin is always kept in good repair."
The RJm Story
Last week's feature article talked about creative thinking.
How we are not in a box, so we shouldn't act as if we are. And that words are for communication, and thus understanding.
A few years ago I looked at the word 'Change', as it seemed to rise to the top in many speeches and writings on a frequent schedule. The message was consistent; 'change' is always with us. Followed by the "news" of the role 'Change' plays in the life of your business ... and the business of your life.
This may all be very true. Yet, again I had another thought; ChaNge is out ... ChaRge is IN!
Change is not what people or " things" or "stuff" is about. Instead, it is about DOING something. When a single letter - 'N' becomes 'R' - we have a different word ... with a completely different meaning. And a clear definition of what is happening in the 21 st Century. People, products, services are ChaRging forth. They are doing something.
If you' d like to talk more about this, or have me bring the ChaNge / ChaRge message to your company or organization, phone 1+805+771-8300. Or send an E-mail to Ray@RayJutkins.com
"See" ya next week.
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.