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The `WOW' Factor

How do you sell a great gift idea? Enthusiasm!

This story appears in the September 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Susan Wilhelm of Reisterstown, Maryland, submitted an ad for her gift basket business, Gift Basket Creations, that started off in an interesting way--with a memo heading--but then got a little spacey. The ad's focus, a series of quotes in the middle of the ad, is meant to illustrate occasions for gift baskets. Unfortunately, most of these quotes come off as vague, if not mysterious, mutterings. I understand where Wilhelm was going with this, but she just didn't get there.

So what will sell the handiwork of a talented gift basketeer? My first thought was to imagine how most people react when they receive an artfully arranged, bountifully stuffed basket of goodies. And that reaction is "Wow!" These gastronomic eyefuls look like they were sent from deli heaven, with their cans of pâtés, mini cheese wheels, baby salamis, crackers and splits of wine all nestled in a basket. So why not remind the prospect of that moment in this ad?

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