Category Archives: advertising

Bad Spellers of The World Untie!

My name is Colin and I am a bad speller. Did I set it “there” or is it “their”? Does your company have a name that is difficult to spell? Did you perhaps get saddled with a name from a parent who had a creative streak and spelled Fred with a Ph instead of an F? By now, you may have gotten used to it – but have your customers? If your name is difficult to spell or is unique then when purchasing web domains you might want to consider purchasing the wrong spellings also. I have a customer whose name includes the word “refrigeration.” Refrigeration is a word that most people spell incorrectly. People tend to add a d – as in the word “fridge.” When we purchased their domain name, for an extra $10 per year we also purchased the domain spelled incorrectly. We then put an automatic redirect on the incorrectly spelled domain so that everyone ends up on the correct website without letting them know about their spelling mistake. When looking at their web statistics the good speller to bad speller ratio is about even. Almost half of the traffic arrives at the site via the bad-speller redirect.

Follow these tips:

  1. Buy the extra domain with the bad spelling or the traditional spelling.
  2. Buy the mis-spelled words and the traditional spellings in your keywords for Google adwords.
  3. Include the mispelled words and the traditional spelled words in your website keywords.

Following these tips will help ensure that the bad spellers of the world won’t miss out on your great products or service.


Shampoo, Rinse and Repeat

While performing a marketing audit recently, I asked my client to provide me with samples of the marketing materials used in the past two years.  I was surprised to receive three large file folders.  The folders were stuffed with coupons, magazine ads, newsprint ads, flyers, postcards, direct mail pieces, product inserts and signage samples.  The client was unhappy with the results they were getting from this obviously large investment in advertising.

Based on his poor return, he believed he needed to get into the social media scene and abandon traditional advertising methods altogether.  I think my recommendations following the audit surprised him.

Although social media is certainly not something to be ignored, making this switch for this client was actually going to make his problem worse.  His problem is not his advertisements themselves; his problem is that he has become a “promiscuous marketer.”  The company hops too quickly from marketing vehicle to marketing vehicle – from new creative ad to new creative ad – from message to message.  They have become the marketing equivalent of a one night stand.

Success in advertising comes from frequency.  Running an ad one time and dumping it when you don’t get expected results is foolishness.  One run barely scratches the surface.  The problem is not with the advertising – but with the creative entrepreneur who loses interest long before the marketing message has even begun to gain power – much less lose it.  Think of your advertising like shampoo.  For it to work, you need to repeat use frequently.  You are better off to overspend with a specific marketing vehicle than to underspend with many.

Focus the message and focus the medium.

Initial Thoughts

While driving, I love nothing better than to listen to talk radio. It is my favourite way to kill highway hours. Last week I was traveling in the US. I was scanning the dials looking for NPR (National Public Radio) or any other talk radio show when I found myself listening to a string of ads for local businesses that could be typical for any town in America or Canada. One ad stood out for me because, well, it was horrible! Describing it as a “train wreck” would be kind. The only saving grace for this company was that even though I heard the ad three times in a stretch, I could not make out what the name of the company was. I really wanted to look them up to see if the rest of their advertising was the same. The reason why I couldn’t make out their name was because they used initials. Was that F or S? Was that a P or T? Turns out that I never did manage to figure it out. For this company that was a good thing…a really good thing.

The Curse of The Three Initials (or Four, Five)

Naming your company with initials puts you at a huge disadvantage in the marketplace. So much, it can even prove to be fatal. Naming your company with initials provides you with a name that means nothing, is hard to be heard, and more importantly is hard to remember. You have just made your company even more transparent in an already over crowded and competitive marketplace. Not what you ever want to do.

Before you start emailing me with the IBM, PPG, GM examples of successful companies with initials, let me save us both a little time here. That argument doesn’t hold water for the simple reason that each of those businesses started off with proper meaningful names before they switched in later years to initials. When you have reached the size of IBM or GE feel free to switch your name to initials. Until then do what is best for your business and develop a name that has meaning.

If you have a proper name and have started shortening it or using your initials in advertising or promotion it is a good idea to stop doing it. As I said, the last thing you want to be is hard to remember.

Until next time, TTFN!

Surprise is An Effective Marketing Tool

When you can take what people are expecting and add a twist or a surprise you can great something remarkable. Remarkable gets remembered, remarkable gets talked about, but more important remarkable sets you apart from the rest of the market.The video above comes from the Oprah Show’s 24th season kickoff party, Harpo staff and more than 20,000 people pulled off a massive surprise for an unsuspecting Oprah. The entire crowd performed a choreographed piece to the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling,” and Oprah was not only shocked, she was thrilled! Award-winning director Michael Gracey says the interaction between the Black Eyed Peas and the crowd is what made the flash mob so extraordinary. ”There’s something really special when you take an audience and instead of just being passive and watching, you invite them to participate,” he says. “That’s why it was so magical for both parties. Two groups of people came together to create something that neither of them could have done alone.”Check out the flash mob that took over Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Donuts, Donuts Donuts

People often get stuck in the mindset that “I am a bookkeeper (insert any business name here) and there is no way to differentiate my business from other bookeepers because we all do the same thing.”  Wrong, wrong, wrong. You are just not trying.

Last week in “Lessons I Learned from Tim” I wrote about the local donut shop that makes me feel like family.  In doing so, they have stood out from other donut stores.  Voodoo Donuts in Portland Oregon has taken the donut shop in a whole new direction.  Voodoo Donuts’ signature item is a voodoo-doll shaped donut filled with raspberry jelly (blood).  It comes with a pretzel stick stuck in the chest. The owners say that customers love to poke the pretzel into the donut over and over again.  The creativity of Voodoo Donuts doesn’t stop there. They offer a Maple Bacon Breakfast Bar; which is a maple glazed donut complete with crispy bacon on top.  Their menu is filled with a wide variety of donuts that you simply can not get from your average donut shop.  They offer toppings such as crushed Oreo cookies, Captain Crunch cereal, and multi-coloured marshmallows.  Oh, and they even act as a wedding chapel, just in case you wanted to pick up some vegan donuts and renew your vows.

Voodoo DonutsMaple Breakfast BarVegan Donuts

The owners have been rewarded for the effort with two locations that often have long lines and coverage from media outlets such as Food Network, Today Show and USA Today.  So what does this have to do with selling?  A lot! As it is much easier to sell something when it is different and unique.  So my question for you is, “What can you do with your business to make it different?”Don

Chives Not Just For Breakfast Anymore

Chives Not Just For Breakfast Anymore


Nice to see that breaking news such as this has a place in the media.  

NEW YORK—In response to flagging sales and plummeting prices, the American Chives Council launched a last-ditch advertising campaign Monday urging consumers to increase their daily chive intake by 12,000 percent. “There’s nothing like a hearty, fragrant helping of chives to jump-start your day,” celebrity spokeswoman Jessica Alba says in one of the new “Big Bowl o’ Chives in the Mornin'” commercials, which feature the actress smiling broadly with chives stuck in her teeth. “But that doesn’t mean eating a big bowl of chives is just for breakfast. The American Chives Council recommends three heaping servings a day. The bigger the better. Get some chives in ya!” Despite the push, analysts predict that the chive industry will continue to struggle, citing the ongoing repercussions of the ACC’s ill-fated 2005 split with the American Sour Cream Association. 

I am not sure what my favorite part is?  The fact that they have Jessica Alba as their spokesperson (most have been a lot of zeros in that cheque) or the the ill-fated split with the American Sour Cream Association.

I am waiting for the big news of World Peace or Whirled Peas.  The campaign might not work but it sure gave me a laugh.



Greek Taverna

Which one of these things does not belong?I saw a full page advertisement in a local newspaper today for the Greek Taverna Restaurant. The logo was in Mediterranean Blue with a white logo resembling the Acropolis. So far, so good. Then disaster strikes the ad… Across the bottom of the ad in big bold print is, (are you ready for this?) “Pasta Night Every Wednesday. ”

Pasta Night. Immediately my thoughts of a delicious Greek dinner, complete with fresh olives and feta cheese somewhere on the plate and perhaps a flaming plate of saganaki are replaced with a mediocre looking bowl of spaghetti with red sauce.

A Greek Restaurant is not where I would go for pasta. Even IF they made the best pasta in town, they are creating a disconnect between the message of “Greek Taverna” complete with Mediterranean seas and *sigh* pasta. Keep in mind – your restaurant or business can’t appeal to everyone. You’ll never stand out as unique in the minds of your customers. Pick something and become the best at it.