Combine 2 Ingredients for Explosive Ads


Relevance and credibility are the matches and gunpowder of advertising.

Relevance is a glowing promise that can ignite the flame of desire.

Credibility is quiet power: Details. Facts. Proof.

The flame of relevance without the gunpowder of credibility is empty, glittering hype; fluffy and without substance. We see a hollow promise, the brief light of a match in the darkness and then the darkness returns.

The gunpowder of credibility without a flame of relevance is the answer to a question no one was asking. Credibility sans relevance is cold, heavy and dry. We are bored by it.

But add the glowing flame of relevance to the dry gunpowder of credibility and

BOOM. You get everyone’s attention.

BOOM. Folks come running from every direction.

BOOM. The world is on fire. Lights. Sirens. News cameras. Helicopters.

BOOM. Every banker wants to be your friend.

Want to hear something really strange? Writers who understand relevance are generally allergic to credibility. They speak ever to emotion, never willing to satisfy our hunger for details and proof. They say, “We have great prices!” and we say, “Name one.” They say, “The lowest prices! Guaranteed!” and we say, “What are the terms of this guarantee, exactly? What happens if I find a lower price? Do I get the advertised item for free or do you make excuses, apologize, and expect me to walk away satisfied? Guarantee, my ass.”

Writers who understand credibility seem allergic to emotional relevance. They hate hyperbole and never want to be accused of it. “We have been in business since 1953. We are part of the community. We believe in honesty and in making a fair profit. When other stores say ‘half price,’ you should always ask, ‘half of what?’ We don’t play those mark-it-up to mark-it-down pricing games like the other stores. We are experts. You can trust us. Our staff has 170 years of combined experience. And yes, we’re every bit as boring as we sound.”

Step one: light the match of relevance. 

Step two: touch it to credibility. And make sure it’s a powder keg and not just a firecracker. The pop-pop-pop of firecracker credibility is like the yap-yap-yap of grandma’s annoying little Pekingese dog.

The person who combines relevance with credibility can change the world.

Relevance with credibility is the answer to public education. Our current educational system offers credible information that has little relevance to the lives of today’s students.

Relevance with credibility is the answer for the church. Credibility is truth. Relevance is emotion. Truth without emotion is the ruling of a judge. No one is attracted to a courtroom. Emotion without truth is a cult.

Church attendance is dwindling in America because ministers, like ad writers, usually lean too far to one side and away from the other.

Without relevance and credibility, there can be no BOOM.

Ad writers, sales people, teachers, trainers and ministers, ask yourselves continually, “Does what I’m about to say have relevance? Will it speak to the hearts of my audience? Will they be moved?” And then ask, “Is my message credible? Are my promises supported by evidence without loopholes? Will the audience have confidence in what I’m saying?

Relevance plus credibility:


Roy H. Williams

PS – The female Beagle featured in the Destinae trilogy is Intuition. Indiana is reckless imagination, her male counterpart. Mischievous Indy guides visitors down the rabbit hole of the Monday Morning Memo.

Both beagles are manifestations of abstract thought in the brain’s right hemisphere. WARNING TO THE MAUDLIN: Indy gets into some serious trouble in today’s rabbit hole.

Maudlin – \?m?d-l?n\ weakly and effusively sentimental

DATE: Sunday, April 4, 2010, 12:27AM
TO: Roy H. Williams
SUBJECT: You are the greatest ad writer in the world.

Hi Roy,

As you promised your new ad is kicking butt.  We just finished a  

million dollar week!  We have cranked up advertising and so far it’s working.  Up 45% over last year.

I appreciate your support.

I wish you and your family a happy Easter.


(Client Name withheld because I don’t want him pestered.)

I finished today’s memo 5 days before I received that email.

Here’s the point: I sent my client an ad built upon maximum relevance and credibility and told him to get a good night’s sleep because his stores were about to be overrun with people.

To be fair, though, the subject line of his email, “You are the greatest ad writer in the world.” was a little bit tongue-in-cheek because most of my emails to him end with the statement, “I Am the Greatest Ad Writer in The World.” And then I sign my name.

No, I won’t send you a copy of the script. But I will share it with everyone who attends the class on April 9, Workin’ It: Intro to Ad Writing.