Stan Mattox, president of Shamrock Pens, a mail-order business
in Rancho Mirage, California, is concerned. His flagship product, a
four-in-one premium pen, has pooped out in small-space ads, so
he's wondering what he can do to boost response.
My first thought is to recast this product's persona. The current "Management Tool" label gets a generous 2-plus on the intrigue scale. In an era where disposable pens can be bought in bulk at the local office-supply emporium, the universe of the premium pen may be shrinking-but it certainly still exists. There are a few brands serving the tastes of those wanting to brandish writing instruments with executive-suite cachet. Plus, nice pens still have a niche in the gift market. The Shamrock Pen fits into both categories.
My idea for Mattox's ad is to offer a different take on its four-in-one uniqueness, as embodied in the new headline, "The Only Pen with a Ph.D." That designation should catch the eye of the target audience. The ad goes on to define the "educated" skills the pen can perform. For price-sensitive customers, it's noted that at $30, The Shamrock Pen is "a third the cost of other premium pens having only one function."
An example of product-personality recasting that may inspire your own efforts was applied to the individually controlled, over-the-headboard reading light. It was dubbed The Marriage Saver.
Jerry Fisher is a freelance advertising copywriter in the San Francisco Bay area and author of Creating Successful Small Business Advertising (available through Bookmasters, 800-247-6553). If you'd like Jerry to consider your materials for a makeover in this column, write to him c/o Entrepreneur or e-mail him at email@example.com.
Shamrock Pens, (760) 770-0266, firstname.lastname@example.org.