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Marketing Boring Stuff

There’s no point in pretending, some products are more boring than others. There; I’ve said it.

A HEPA filter is an essential item these days, it takes away all the nasty stuff out of the carpets and wotnot, stuff you didn’t even know was there in the first place. Essential but not very interesting

A video game however, that makes you feel like you’re going at warp factor 10 with your ‘nads on fire; super exciting!

The dull stuff still has to be sold though, so how do you market an unexciting product or service? You making it exciting.

To give you an example, Warburton’s sell white bread (they sell other things too, but they also sell white bread) the blandest of all foodstuffs. How do you market that? Well unlike Warburton’s you might not be able to afford the national treasure that is Peter Kay (or the international treasures that are the Muppets) to sell your products, but that’s not to say you can’t sell the idea that the humble white sliced can’t be used for more exotic things such as, rum spiced bread pudding, spicy croutons, that it can be added to chocolate fondue or turned into a toasted cheese, tomato and turkey Danish open sandwich with cranberry ‘slaw, capiche?

As Jef L. Richards famously pointed out, “Advertising is the Wonder, in Wonder Bread”.

You’re not selling the product, you’re selling the idea, you are selling what can be done with the product, you are selling the experience.

Same goes with zit cream.

You are not simply going to talk about how they’ll be spot-free overnight. You sell a story, you sell Romeo and Juliet (or Romeo and Romeo). Of course you still have to do the before and after shots but that’s a side issue, the main story here is how he’ll finally get the girl he’s been lusting after, or how the boy of her dreams will finally notice her and ask her out. Not boring zit cream, a better you.

You’re not selling the product, you’re selling the idea, you are selling what can be done with the product, you are selling the experience.

Take life insurance (no, seriously, take out life insurance, it’s a dangerous world out there) what product could possibly be more tedious and dare I say it, more morose than life insurance (apart from burial insurance, I guess). As Milton Mayer, said, “The art of dying graciously is nowhere advertised, in spite of the fact that its market potential is great.”

Joan Rivers said something vaguely-ish similar when she died:

“When I die…I want my funeral to be a big showbiz affair with lights, cameras, action…I want Craft services, I want paparazzi and I want publicists making a scene! I want it to be Hollywood all the way. I don’t want some Rabbi mumbling on; I want Meryl Streep crying in five different accents. I don’t want a eulogy; I want Bobby Vinton to pick up my head and sing ‘Mr. Lonely.’ I want to look gorgeous, better dead than I do alive. I want to be buried in a Valentino gown and I want Harry Winston to make me a toe tag. And I want a wind machine so that even in the casket my hair is blowing just like Beyoncé’s.”

Now, how many of us have said the same thing when the advert for the Co-op has come on or when Saga is telling you to plan for the future (by planning for your death) and everyone’s sat around sniffing and being maudlin. Why can’t life insurance sellers tell a different story, the one that many of us say to each other: I don’t want people wearing black and being sad, I want them to wear Hawaiian shirts or togas (not together obviously, that would be ridiculous) I want the Prodigy playing Firestarter as I’m winched into the incinerator and a marching band strutting down the street playing; ‘Oh, When the Saints…’. If you could sell that vision of life insurance to people, a reflection of who that person really was in life, people would be tripping over each other to buy it, life insurance companies being sought out by customers, whatever next!

If you have a product that makes drying paint look mesmerising, find a way to make it memorable and fun and exciting.

Remember, you’re not selling the product, you’re selling the idea, you are selling what can be done with the product, you are selling the experience.

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