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The Cat's Meow

To really be noticed, you've got to break the advertising mold and come up with an idea that's unique in your industry.

By Jerry Fisher Originally published May 1, 2003

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

"Think different," the headline Apple Computer hoistedonto a million billboards a few years ago to get PC users to switchto Macintosh, happens to be a more compelling message to otheradvertisers. The message is: You'd better think differently ifyou want to separate what you sell from that of your competitors,especially if it's a parity product.

Onecompany that's succeeded in this regard is Hunter Fans, whichinvented the ceiling fan back in 1886. Nowadays, besides stillselling devices that blow the air, they're peddling items thatclean it. With a sizeable market for air purifiers, Hunter figuredit should be leveraging its century of goodwill as air-qualitymerchants to jump into the fray. But instead of falling into stepwith all the other purveyors of dander, pollen, dust and odoreaters, Hunter's brain trust cocked its collective head anddecided to ask consumers, humorously, "Ever Tried To Vacuum ACat?" This is an A+ example of breaking the mold. It's anad concept that comes right out of left field to ultimately delivera message similar to that of other purveyors, in a totally freshway. Coupled with the visual of a miffed Muffy, it's a bonafide stopper and funny to boot. The white headline against a blackbackdrop, floating just above the head of the frosted feline, makesfor a very interruptive ad, executed in just half a page.

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