Tag Archives: truth

Send A Message, Send A Dick

If I had a shiny gun,
I could have a world of fun
Speeding bullets through the brains
Of the folk who give me pains;
Or had I some poison gas,
I could make the moments pass
Bumping off a number of
People whom I do not love.
But I have no lethal weapon-
Thus does Fate our pleasure step on!
So they still are quick and well
Who should be, by rights, in hell.
Dorothy Parker (Frustration)

Advertising industry is obsessed by positivity. All the ads are filled with shiny happy people pointing their fingers at computer screen. Everyone is smiling. Everyone has friends. No one is fighting. There is no politics, grudge or evil. Everyone cares about the brand and how that special toothpaste comes to save the day.

The advertising reality is pure fiction.

Same time the best advertising is based on truth:


You can dramatize the truth and make it interesting. But there has to be truth in it, otherwise it is meaningless: not connected to the real life, only connected to advertising life. The truth above is simple: bad breath is disgusting and ruins your social chances*. Nothing positive about that, but the message is powerful.

Advertising life should never be separated from the real life. The truth is that your life is filled with annoying tasks, annoying people and annoying circumstances. If more brands would recognize that we would have more truthful advertising. More truthful is also more powerful and resonates with real audience (not focus groups).

There is something profoundly truthful with this new service called “Dicks By Mail”.


The brand promise is simple:

“In only a few minutes you can send a literal Bag of Dicks to that special asshole in your life.” 

The “dicks” in question are actually candy, which you can send in anonymous package:


This is a great politically incorrect idea. The truth is that everyone could come up with quite long list of people (who are dicks) to whom this jolly gift should be sent (to let the whole world know that they are dicks).

Sometimes the truth hurts.

* Of course advertising played vital role in making halitosis a social problem. That would not have been possible, if Listerine ad message would have been positive. Ad below is naturally revolting when analyzed from today´s point-of-view, but it is based on truth. Sometimes truth is hard to swallow, even harder than Listerine.


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The First Thing One Must Do to Succeed in Advertising

The first thing one must do to succeed in advertising is to have the attention of the reader.

That means to be interesting.

The next thing is to stick to the truth, and that means rectifying whatever’s wrong in the merchant’s business.

If the truth isn’t tellable, fix it so it is.

That is about all there is to it.

-John E. Powers

John E. Powers has been called “the father of honest ads” and he was also probably one of the first full-time copywriters. His tie copy for John Wanamaker is still effective, funny and, especially, true.

“They’re not as good as they look, but they’re good enough — 25 cents”

There is still lots to learn from John E. Powers.

Source: Winning The Story Wars & http://www.biztactics.com/bullet-john-powers.php

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