This famous McGraw-Hill print advert first ran in Business Week in 1958, and it was named one of the 10 best ads of that year. It was written by John Peebles, Creative Director at Adler Boschetto Peebles and Partners. The advert underscored the need for a brand and brand personality, in addition to just the product alone. It highlighted the need to create a positive perception before you try to make the sale.
It is no wonder that the direct marketing world embraced the message of this particular advert and I have frequently heard it referred to over the years and in various direct marketing presentations. The challenge of facing a skeptical, customer and trying to convince them to buy your product, has not really changed over time. If anything, it’s become even more difficult. I know that is definitely the case for ad-agency new business in the current environment.
While the original advert reinforced the need to establish positive brand awareness and brand personality pre-sale in order to be successful, today we have to go one step further. In the agency world there are many strong brands out there all competing for the same client advertising and marketing dollars. Now we have to have category experince
So, assuming that the concept is as true today as it was in 1958, I thought I would update it from the ad-agency client’s perspective.
“I don’t know who you are or why I should bother to listen to you”
“I don’t know why you are contacting me as I already have an agency”
“I don’t know if you have category experience and know my business well”
“I don’t know what other client work you have done or if it’s even relevant to me”
“I don’t know what actionable insights you may have that will help me succeed”
“I don’t know what proof you have to convince me that your ideas will work”
“Now, why should I take a risk and spend part of my budget with you?”
The next time you contemplate new business prospecting, you might find it useful to insert your prospective clients face into this ad, and try answering these questions before reaching out.