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No More Mr. Nice Ad

Cute doesn't cut it. To succeed, you've got to be more aggressive.

Tamara Simon, who operates Koss Property Management Inc. in Seattle, sent in an ad that one could say "makes nice." It's agreeable, well-spoken and, yes, even cute-an ad you'd take home to mother.

But in the world of competitive advertising, where you need to strap on an ammo bandolier, brave the elements and go out there for battle, Simon might want to be more forceful and pithy. Remember, you're living in a world desensitized to advertising. Just putting your name at the top of an ad and having a sunny theme line follow won't always cut it.

Realizing that do-it-yourself property management is a real migraine for most people, it would benefit Koss to push that button in its advertising. To that end, my recommended headline would be, "10 Property Headaches You Won't Face Next Week." Then, of course, you'd list those 10 forsaken headaches (which are indicated in the drawing of the house).

I wouldn't toss the company's upbeat theme-"We make it a pleasure to be a tenant and profitable to be a landlord"-but it shouldn't go at the top of the ad. I'd have it as a sign-off at the bottom. Also, rather than announce "references gladly provided," it would be better to put a testimonial in the ad. But don't make it simply a make-nice testimonial; make it one that sets you apart from your competitors.

Before

This ad is an announcement, not an advertisement. It needs more "salesmanship" to motivate response.

An ad's sales impact is immediately cut in half when the company name is the headline.

The listing of services is good, but it needs a more evocative context.

After

This headline addresses the hassles of owning rental property.

The listing is now positioned as "headaches" prospects can get relief from.

Big benefits to using the services of Koss Property Management are implied in this remake.


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 jerry228@aol.com.

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This article was originally published in the November 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: No More Mr. Nice Ad.

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