Cold Gold

We grant good marks for an ad that thinks outside the icebox.
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the March 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It's rare that you stumble onto true originality in advertising headlines today, so a little awe-if not applause-is in order for the ad being highlighted this month.

It comes from famed Amana Appliances in Amana, Iowa, and earns an A+ for the utterly unexpected, sensorial headline, "I'm the designated MILK SMELLER in my house." It almost induces an involuntary whiff at the sight of it. That's worth a bonus for the copywriter who conceived it, because it breaks through the clutter of predictability so prevalent in advertising today. Even more, it breaks the rule that says all headlines must have, or imply, a benefit to the reader.

So now that I've swooned and gushed over this iconic set of words, some questions need to be asked: Does it really do the hard job of selling the product? Does it get attention and then evoke interest in buying? On the first criterion, yes, big-time. Causing a typically indifferent, desensitized reader to come to a halt on any given ad is at least 60 percent of the assignment. But after that, the body copy must take the baton and move the reader down the path to purchase. On that score, it also gets high marks, with an amusing take on a spousal ineptitude, well, to wit:

"My husband gets this terrified look on his face, holds out the carton and says, 'Honey, do you think it's bad?' I say, 'I don't know, dear, smell it.' 'No, really, do you think it's bad?' This can go on for 20 minutes. Lucky for us, the people at Amana invented a special compartment on the inside of the fridge door. It keeps milk 5 degrees colder so it stays fresh longer. It's sort of a fridge inside a fridge. Now if I can only get him to stop putting back the empty cartons." What you should take away from this ad and apply to your own efforts is clear: Start thinking outside the crayon lines of conventional promotion.

You would think that every fridge-ad idea in the universe would have already been concocted, yet this one broke new ground. How? By drawing on personal experience. And by bravely departing from conventional icebox ads that generally just list features and benefits. You'd be surprised how many similarly original ideas lie waiting for you-outside your office.

Jerry Fisher is a freelance advertising copywriter and author of Creating Successful Small Business Advertising.

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