"Live bait and fine art"

By Ernest Falkner III

Zillion Dollar Thinking


I saw these words on a hand painted sign in front of a rural general store years ago. The image contrast was as clever then as it is today. I believe that is common to things classic and unique.
 
While it may seem that these two opposites would be virtually incompatible, obviously the owner did not. And, if he were confronted with his ad as a cute gesture, he probably would not have found it the least bit humorous. He was running his business for a profit. He was trying to get attention and sell something.
 
Let’s look at his marketing elements:
 
It was all about a unique selling proposition
 
It was a general store that had wide offerings, from wigglers to investment grade artwork and everything in-between
 
His claim was simple and clever (only five words to paint his picture)
 
It was advertisement in its purist form (a hand-painted sign)
 
He made no unbelievable claims (just a unique slogan)
 
Measured against Claude Hopkins’s classic book, "Scientific Advertising," (enduring for 85 years), which introduced the concept that advertising is simply salesmanship in print (looks like our entrepreneur captured that premise).
 
Author’s Note:
 
Today, we tend to let prevailing technology become the driver, not the unique (only what you can claim) key message. Why does that happen? Judging by sheer volume today, a software app is the easiest and quickest template solution. Caution: savvy audiences can see the difference between originality/uniqueness and cut/paste.
 
What is the take away? If you don’t have one this year, consider creating your own USP Examples:
 
Hairdresser: “Perm for this Term?”
Insurance: “Perm with that Term?”
Politician: “Term is not Perm”
 
As always, you decide.