Subtleties of Ad Writing Revealed, Line-by-Line
Richard Kessler built one of the most famous stores in America.
You might remember his name from the Monday Morning Memo about origin stories published on March 20, 2017.
Here is Kessler’s origin story in a 60-second radio ad:
“My Dad was a house painter. He taught me to sand and scrape paint until my fingers were aching and raw. But I wanted to make him proud, so I always worked hard. I’ll never forget the day we opened our brown bags at lunch time and he said, “Son. I’m proud of how hard you work, but I hope that someday you’ll get a job where you can wear a tie.” And because I wanted to make him proud, I decided to open a jewelry store. I watched as my Dad took his last seven hundred dollars out of his sock drawer to help me get started. But he never got to see that store. He died just before it was open. I lived on wieners and beans for the next 11 years until I finally figured it out: Lose the tie… And be a regular guy just like your Dad. That’s when things turned around for me. I’ve been sharing the story of that 700 dollars with young entrepreneurs in High Schools and Colleges for years. America’s newest and best Kesslers Diamond Center is about to open in front of Cabela’s next to the Rivertown Mall in Grandville. I’m Richard Kessler, and I’m hoping to become your jeweler.”
Richard Kessler is a celebrity in his hometown of Milwaukee, with 50% of the population of that city having heard at least 3 of his radio ads every week, fifty-two-weeks in a row, for the past 30 years. Richard’s daughter, Monica, was his sidekick on the radio for 5 years, then became the principal voice of the Kesslers ad campaign when Richard retired.
But Richard Kessler also has a son.
Hi, I’m Rob Kessler, yeah that Kessler, son of Richard and brother to Monica. I invented a new kind of shirt that makes guys look fantastic. You’ll see what I mean the moment you look in the mirror after trying one on. “Wow! Is that me?” And you can try one on right now at Harleys Menswear. My company is called goTieless and your new shirt has my patented, Million Dollar Collar. Shirt-makers all over the world are trying to license the Million Dollar Collar, but I’m not sure I want to do that. But I AM sure I want you to see yourself in the mirror wearing one. Average dress shirts were designed to be worn with a tie. goTIELESS shirts are designed to make you look like you’ve been spending time in the gym. Seriously, go to Harleys Menswear and try one on and look in the mirror. WOW!! My website is goTIELESS dot com. You’re going to look AMAZING in the casual dress shirts I designed for you. goTIELESS dot com. Dad says “Hi” by the way. For real. goTIELESS dot com.
Line 1: Introduce the unknown and unfamiliar by relating it to the known and familiar. “Hi, I’m Rob Kessler, yeah that Kessler, son of Richard and brother to Monica.”
Line 2: Replace predictable words with unexpected words that mean the same thing. Not “I designed a shirt…” but, “I invented a shirt…” Also, bring the customer into the picture by saying “…that makes guys look FANTASTIC.”
Line 3: Amplify the customer’s curiosity by putting them squarely in the center of the picture you’re painting. “You’ll see what I mean the moment you look in the mirror after trying one on. ‘Wow! Is that me?’”
Line 4: Cause the customer to imagine themselves taking the action you want them to take. “And you can try one on right now at Harleys Menswear.”
Line 5: Introduce the domain name you need them to remember, then answer the question that lurks in the mind of the listener, “What did Rob Kessler invent that makes guys look fantastic?” “My company is called goTIELESS and your new shirt has my patented, Million Dollar Collar.” Transfer ownership of the shirt by referring to it as “your new shirt,” rather than “my new shirt.” This is another way of causing the customer to imagine themselves taking the action you want them to take.
Line 6: Establish third-party credibility, “Shirt-makers all over the world are trying to license the Million Dollar Collar…” then let the customer get a glimpse into your heart by saying, “but I’m not sure I want to do that.” Those nine words signal making money is not your principal objective.
Line 7: Now close the loop on this set of paired opposites. Not sure/AM sure. “…But I AM sure I want you to see yourself in the mirror wearing one.” This line also contains the seventh and eighth times you’ve caused the customer to imagine himself taking the action you want him to take.
1 ….makes guys look fantastic
2. You’ll see what I mean…
3. …you look in the mirror…
4. … “Wow! Is that me?”
5. … you can try one on right now…
6. … your new shirt…
7. I want you to see…
8. …yourself in the mirror wearing one.
Line 8: Introduce new information. “Average dress shirts were designed to be worn with a tie.” This line implies that the customer’s “new shirt” is not the average dress shirt. This is also the first line in a second pair of paired opposites. The second line is…
Line 9: “goTIELESS shirts are designed to make you look like you’ve been spending time in the gym.” Yes, the customer is once again the star of the movie you are projecting into his mind.
9. …you look like you’ve been spending time in the gym.
And you closed the loop on our second pair of paired opposites! “Average dress shirts were designed/goTIELESS shirts are designed.” You went from past tense “were designed” to present tense, “are designed” to indicate that average dress shirts are the past and goTIELESS shirts are the future.
Line 10: “Seriously, go to Harleys Menswear and try one on and look in the mirror. WOW!”
10. …go to Harleys…
11. …try one one…
12. …look in the mirror. WOW!
Line 11: Repeat the domain name you mentioned earlier. “My website is GoTIELESS dot com.”
Line 12: Cause the customer to feel connected to his friend, Rob Kessler. “You’re going to look AMAZING in the casual dress shirts I designed for you.”
13. You’re going to look amazing…
Line 13: Repeat the domain name for the third time. “goTIELESS dot com.”
Line 14: Remind them of your heritage. You are the son of someone they like. “Dad says ‘Hi’ by the way.”
Line 15: Elevate attention by using an unexpected phrase that could mean several different things. “For real.”
Line 16: Close with a last mental image that reminds them of what to do next.
“goTIELESS dot com.” This is the fourth time we’ve given them the domain name. Now let’s measure our increase in traffic.
If we don’t see a significant increase in website traffic, the problem is in the ad. If we see a lot of website traffic but not enough sales, the problem is on the website. And there is always the outside chance that we’re answering a question no one was asking.
You did read last week’s MondayMorningMemo about gambling, didn’t you?
Roy H. Williams