You’re Boring & Your Marketing Sucks

Client: “But what will ‘they’ think?”

Me: “This isn’t high school!  Who cares if ‘they’ think you’re crazy! All that matters is if they are making your cash register ring.”

When writing ads for clients, I’m often asked to tone down the fascination level.   WHY?  For fear of what “they” will think.   Despite my best sales pitch on why being fascinating is important, fear keeps some clients inside the box of ordinary, ineffective ads.

Consider this…

“…that many of us grew up in – a goods and services economy, then we moved to an experience economy, but now we are in a fascination economy.  People once bought for utility, then for experience; now if not utterly fascinated, they are utterly bored and disinterested; there’s no in-between; and they are in desperate search to be incessantly fascinated.  No sitting on a park bench and waiting to see if someone interesting happens by.  No reading through the newspaper to see if you chance upon an article of interest.  We will not stand for such.  So, if you’re not getting response, maybe you’re just boring.” – taken from FASCINATE by Sally Hogshead.

What type of response is your advertising getting?

Boring = Lack of Response

When’s the last time you analyzed your advertising to see if it’s boring?  It’s not the way they teach you to analyze your advertising in business school – trust me.

Take a minute and think about each of your advertising pieces.  Are they boring?

I’d Like To Introduce You To Broca…

The Broca’s Area is a tiny part of your brain that serves as the gatekeeper for keeping boring things out of your memory.  Your Broca’s Area only allows unusual, exciting, or otherwise unexpected things to be stored in your brain.

It’s your duty and obligation as the Chief Marketing Officer to communicate with clients and prospects in ways that make it past the gatekeeper – the Broca’s Area.

All marketing involves communication, whether spoken or unspoken.  Successful online stores and catalogers are worth studying.  The more successful the company, the more fascinating their marketing and advertising is.

At the J. Peterman Company, they are masters at keeping things fascinating.  They are trying to sell a shirt, and yet they start out talking about hot summers in Italy.  Are they crazy?

Nope.  They’re telling a story, and brilliantly painting you into the story – if you’re a guy.  After all you want to adhere to the “Italian Gentleman’s code.”  I mean, you do want to “keep your cool when everyone around you is wilting.”   “Later, these shirts are at the Venice Film Festival, under a blazer, making deals” and you’re the type of person who could be at the Film Festival making deals, right?

Another amazing thing about J. Peterman is that even though they print their catalogs in full-color, they don’t use photos of their clothing.  Instead they opt for full-color drawings.  Why?  Maybe they understand by using a drawing of the shirt, more is left to your imagination.  (You can more easily picture yourself in the shirt.)

Making Rice Fascinating – Marketing Challenge

It doesn’t matter what you sell, I’d be willing to bet it’s more fascinating than rice.  That’s right – I’m talking about the stuff you eat – rice.

If you were in charge of marketing rice, how would you do it?  What would your ad say?  Take a couple of minutes and ponder how you would market your rice.


Have your ad in mind?  Now let’s take a look at how the master marketers at Zingerman’s advertise their rice.

How’d you do?  Was your ad boring compared to the Zingerman’s ad?

I’d have to assume their ad was successful.  At the time I’m writing this, their website shows they’re sold out of this Forbidden Rice.  Not sure how many pounds they had, or how much they actually paid per pound, but I’d be willing to bet at their rate of $10.00 per pound, they made quite a nice profit.  What do you think?

Now Take An Adventure!

Your comfort zone is boring.  Why don’t you take an adventure outside your comfort zone?  Spend a few minutes writing an ad for your company that pushes you outside – way outside – your comfort zone.  You don’t have to stay there long, if you don’t want to, but you should take an adventure outside.  You never know – you may never come back the same.

Let’s be honest with each other… has your marketing been too boring?