Simple words often work better than neat adverts

Love at First Website Advert

An example advert from the time I led the Marketing Services Team at Demon Internet. It was a dumb sounding advert, but it pulled response like crazy. Some of the responses we received back in the mail (asking for trial CDs) contained nice poems, so it appeared to strike a healthy connection.

When we first entertained bids for a new agency, we had super looking, consistent, nicely branded advert samples from one company, and these tongue in cheek worded ones from another. Cliff Stanford (owner of Demon Internet) liked the worded ones, while I thought he was nuts – but he agreed to do some tests to see who was correct. He was absolutely right; the worded ads pulled much more effectively. Lesson learnt!

The Valentines Day Advert was done in a rush a week before, and Les Hewitt (media buyer extraordinaire) got it in most target newspapers near the back. Once in, he phoned them hourly to twist their arm relentlessly, getting it shifted page by page towards the front. The advert made it to the dating page on Valentines Day in the Times I believe, where we got fantastic response levels.

We ran quite a few variations of the theme in over 40 different publications:

Thick as two short planks advert

piece at cake advert

We also tried cross-track and a 40-sheet poster treatment of the piece@cake advert, but had a bit of a mishap on the approach to Wembley Stadium the evening when the Spice Girls were giving a concert. Hence thousands of young fans, being driven in by their parents to see the concert were greeted with:

Piece @ Cake Advert, dropped E

We had them paste the ‘e’ panel back on the next day.

Average cost to land a £10/month paying customer was £30, around 1/6 that of competitive ISPs at the time (this was 1998-9). We tested everything, and knew what the landed cost of a customer was for every ad we placed. Even knew which ones gave us high response and then heavy churn 3 months later (waves hello to the Sun and Mirror). The most effective medium one of my folks tried gave us acquisition costs of £4 per landed customer, but many odd ball complaints. But that’s another story, and described near the end of an older post here.

Class work, well executed and full of personality. In my humble opinion, of course.