A recent advertising blog reminded me of a game some friends and I once played. We had to come up with an honest strap line for the third or subsequent entries in a film franchise. The favourite was for Alien³: ’Just like Aliens but cheaper and with fewer monsters’.
It is unlikely that the production company would have gone for that but it is a surprising, although reassuring, statistic that the vast majority of those in business try to be honest. Not only that, we all know that the one thing which puts customers off is dishonesty. However, there is a big difference between not telling a lie and being frank and open.
Does anyone go to a burger bar because that’s the best meal available? Yet they do not say ‘For when you have only £1.99 to spend’. So honesty has its limits it would appear. The trick is where to draw a line.
The classic 1950s Khrone adverts for the VW Beetle were remarkable as they actually higlighted some of the supposed deficiencies of the car. The one for the minibus stated: ‘A Face Only a Mother Could Love’. It was clever marketing. In essence it was suggesting that mothers (ignore the sexism) value practicality over appearance. Women, the ad said, were too clever to be taken in by good looks.
If balancing a negative against a positive works for you then there are lots of ways you could go. For instance, a competitor’s product might have features which could be considered superior to yours. If their device has oodles of electronic gizmos that go ‘ping’ at the appropriate time, you might emphasise that yours has all the basic features anyone would need. Simplicity and reliability might well be sales points, if the price is right.
On the other hand, emphasising that modernity and sophistication are well worth the little extra cost is another option.
Can you cash in on a bit expensive? If you have an upmarket product and price it accordingly, you might well want to ensure that those who buy it are reassured to find it is not for those on a budget.
I was sent a marketing email for a bit of software with the tag: ‘For those not afraid to expand their horizons’. Despite the fact that I already had a lower specification version of the same product, one ample for my requirements, I read on, even clicking through for more technical information. I reluctantly accepted that I could not justify the extra cost, but it was a close run thing.
Most importantly, if your product is not suitable for some needs, then it makes sense to state this early on in the marketing email. Imagine the frustration of someone who read through to the end, only to find in a footnote that it doesn’t fit their requirements.
On the other hand subscribers will soon get to know that they can trust your descriptions of products and what they can, and cannot of course, do.
Honesty is the best policy, although there are sensible limits. You know why Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull did not boast: Whatever.
Enjoy this little bit of fun: http://digitalsynopsis.com/advertising/honest-advertising-slogans/