The 2 most powerful words in advertising -- 2 words that sold millions in a household commodity

33 replies
I've been around for a while... as a copywriter and marketing consultant.
I've argued that "free" and "you" are two words you want to use as much as you can.
But just as a quick post, I think the two most demonstrate-able POWER WORDS ever used in advertising can be found on the back of the shampoo bottle.
The two words have to do with repeat sales.
The words are "RINSE, REPEAT".

Who ever wrote those words should be in the marketers hall of fame.

Just thinkin'
Linwood Austin
#advertising #commodity #household #millions #powerful #sol #words
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  • Profile picture of the author culpetm
    That's true. I wonder how much extra money those two words have generated for shampoo companies...
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  • Great thread topic! Creating sparks in the cranium!

    But what comes first? In order to get to a rinse and repeat we need a BUY NOW.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
    Personally, I read cereal boxes when eating breakfast and I have never read a shampoo bottle while taking a shower or bath. Next time, at breakfast, I will eat my shampoo and read the bottle.
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    • Originally Posted by Jeffery View Post

      Personally, I read cereal boxes when eating breakfast and I have never read a shampoo bottle while taking a shower or bath. Next time, at breakfast, I will eat my shampoo and read the bottle.

      Biggest laugh I had this week! And I have been watching 2 other words...Key and Peele hahah.

      Better get some Mango Coconut Conditioner as chaser.

      But seriously Rinse and Repeat are solid gold but you have to get to that point first.


      And after that..maybe 2 other words....Thank you.....for opting in.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
    On a separate note, what are the two most spoken words on the internet? Okay Google?
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  • Anyone hear read "The Plagiarist?" I vaguely recalled this related tidbit from reading it a long time ago, and Wikipedia confirmed it for me: In Benjamin Cheever's novel The Plagiarist, a fictional advertising executive increases the sales of his client's shampoo by adding the word "repeat" to its instructions.

    Love it!
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  • Profile picture of the author Medon
    I dont believe you, perhaps I will need to scrutinize a shampoo bottle next time my wife drops one around.
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  • Profile picture of the author AdmanMrWoo
    Shampoos are rather unnecessary when you think about it.

    I do use it on my hair from time to time, but not every time I shower.

    And since I STOPPED using it so much, I have much less dandruff.

    I think the shampoo dried out my scalp. Weird huh?



    I've heard from health food folks that using soap to shower off, washes off the oils on your skin that help you retain vitamin D... or some such. Makes sense to me.



    But in the advertising and marketing business... our just is to sell it all.

    Or go broke trying.
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  • Originally Posted by AdmanMrWoo View Post

    The words are "RINSE, REPEAT".
    Darn you. I read the heading and tried to come up with two most important words in advertising. My best effort was "You get".

    But "Rinse Repeat" is of course the obvious answer. Worthy of a lengthy meditation of how to use the principle involved, How to increase consumption of your product/service with an idea.

    It reminds me of the engagement ring meme of "Two month's salary" as a standard to spend.

    Or the idea that Dessert is a normal part of a meal.
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    • Profile picture of the author Reddevil007
      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      Darn you. I read the heading and tried to come up with two most important words in advertising. My best effort was "You get".

      But "Rinse Repeat" is of course the obvious answer. Worthy of a lengthy meditation of how to use the principle involved, How to increase consumption of your product/service with an idea.

      It reminds me of the engagement ring meme of "Two month's salary" as a standard to spend.

      Or the idea that Dessert is a normal part of a meal.

      Dont get what you meant by this Claude:


      But "Rinse Repeat" is of course the obvious answer. Worthy of a lengthy meditation of how to use the principle involved, How to increase consumption of your product/service with an idea.
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      • Originally Posted by Reddevil007 View Post

        Dont get what you meant by this Claude:


        But "Rinse Repeat" is of course the obvious answer. Worthy of a lengthy meditation of how to use the principle involved, How to increase consumption of your product/service with an idea.
        I meant that if you think about "Rinse, repeat" how could you apply this to other offers?

        But first, I have to dissect what the principle is behind "Rinse repeat". It's the principle of adding a small bit of information that creates a large increase in consumption/use/or buying in larger volume than before. It could even be a meme that would spread.

        Dan Kennedy was talking (in a speech he gave) about car wax. And how the manufacturer doubled the sale of car wax by dividing the car wax into a base coat and a finishing coat. And selling it in two containers. The same wax in both containers....and of course the car shines a little more with two coats of wax than it does with one coat. And our hair is slightly cleaner with two applications of shampoo than it is with one.

        And "Rinse repeat" is the obvious answer because of one other factor, maybe the most important one. You already have a buyer. Selling a buyer is far easier..far more productive...far more profitable...than selling a non-buyer. They are already sold on using your product. The power of that is apparent when you just need to add "Rinse repeat" to double your sales.

        So you want to try to apply these ideas to buyers, not prospects. And that's a big reason why "Rinse repeat" is such a brilliant game changer.
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        • Profile picture of the author Reddevil007
          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          I meant that if you think about "Rinse, repeat" how could you apply this to other offers?

          But first, I have to dissect what the principle is behind "Rinse repeat". It's the principle of adding a small bit of information that creates a large increase in consumption/use/or buying in larger volume than before. It could even be a meme that would spread.

          Dan Kennedy was talking (in a speech he gave) about car wax. And how the manufacturer doubled the sale of car wax by dividing the car wax into a base coat and a finishing coat. And selling it in two containers. The same wax in both containers....and of course the car shines a little more with two coats of wax than it does with one coat. And our hair is slightly cleaner with two applications of shampoo than it is with one.

          And "Rinse repeat" is the obvious answer because of one other factor, maybe the most important one. You already have a buyer. Selling a buyer is far easier..far more productive...far more profitable...than selling a non-buyer. They are already sold on using your product. The power of that is apparent when you just need to add "Rinse repeat" to double your sales.

          So you want to try to apply these ideas to buyers, not prospects. And that's a big reason why "Rinse repeat" is such a brilliant game changer.

          Thanks for the clarification any chance you have link to a source that specifically talks about this rinse and repeat principle?
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          • Originally Posted by Reddevil007 View Post

            Thanks for the clarification any chance you have link to a source that specifically talks about this rinse and repeat principle?
            No. I worked it out myself.

            One of the most productive things I've ever learned is that, when we see something work, there is a principle involved (maybe more than one) that is the driving force behind the technique.

            The way to arrive at that principle is to delete the specifics (like rinse-repeat is about shampoo) and figure out how this idea can be used more universally.

            This process of teasing out the principle involved increases your overall understanding of the specific example, and also allows you to transfer ideas to other businesses/applications/contexts.

            When I was selling in people's homes, I spent several years teaming up with top reps in other industries. I'd work with them (in the field) for a day, and they would work with me for a day (sometimes longer).

            Even though their business was often completely different from mine, I almost always found at least one thing they were doing exceptionally well, that I could translate to my business. It was mostly during this time that I spent my day trying to deconstruct what they were doing, and reconstruct it in a more useful (to me) form.

            Almost nothing has paid me more than this.

            I remember in high school reading about the Trojan Horse. And I spend my first attempts at trying to extract the principle involved, and how I could use it in other areas of my life. A long journey.
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          • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
            Originally Posted by Reddevil007 View Post

            Thanks for the clarification any chance you have link to a source that specifically talks about this rinse and repeat principle?

            I found an excellent explanation of Rinse & Repeat. Here's the link to the article.

            John
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
    Originally Posted by AdmanMrWoo View Post

    The words are "RINSE, REPEAT".

    "Rinse and repeat" are the two most powerful words in advertising?

    I disagree. I'm going to go with "Click Here."

    John
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      Originally Posted by Johnny12345 View Post

      I'm going to go with "Click Here."
      I'll see your "Click Here" and raise you a "Free Gift" - even though one of those words is redundant.
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    • Originally Posted by Johnny12345 View Post

      "Rinse and repeat" are the two most powerful words in advertising?

      I disagree. I'm going to go with "Click Here."

      John
      I'll be frank with you. I tried the "Click here" in a newspaper ad, and it did nothing. Next, I'm going to use it on a billboard. Wish me luck.


      JK.
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      • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        I'll be frank with you. I tried the "Click here" in a newspaper ad, and it did nothing. Next, I'm going to use it on a billboard. Wish me luck.

        Claude,

        You big goofball. Of course, it's not gonna work in a newspaper. It's gotta be used in an "interactive" environment.

        So, try this...

        When you're in your store selling vacuum cleaners, write "Click Here" on your forehead in magic marker (preferably PERMANENT magic marker) and see if you get more sales.

        Test that out and get back to us with the results. (I've got a good feeling about it.)

        Best,

        John

        P.S. I think the billboard might work, too. When people climb the sign to click it, the Police and Channel 7 Action News will almost certainly show up... and that's called FREE PUBLICITY, baby!

        So, yes, try that, too.
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    • Profile picture of the author AdmanMrWoo
      Originally Posted by Johnny12345 View Post

      "Rinse and repeat" are the two most powerful words in advertising?

      I disagree. I'm going to go with "Click Here."

      John

      Ahhh, you got me.
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  • Profile picture of the author TobiMDD
    Makes sense...this is why I read these words so often..
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Do people even read instructions? Does the cereal box say, "Chew. Swallow."?

    Good golly Molly. OLD dude, you bring up some great points, and a history of shampoo (as you rightly note) was a product that had to be sold, before that, it was soap.

    The point of selling a CONSUMABLE is terrific. I wonder how many people use TWO of those little laundry soap pods, cause they don't think one has enough soap in it? I think that was a brilliant move by P & G and someone saved them millions in shipping alone.

    Love your little gems you drop, always engaging (and why wouldn't they be, you are masterful with your words).

    GordonJ




    Originally Posted by AdmanMrWoo View Post

    I've been around for a while... as a copywriter and marketing consultant.
    I've argued that "free" and "you" are two words you want to use as much as you can.
    But just as a quick post, I think the two most demonstrate-able POWER WORDS ever used in advertising can be found on the back of the shampoo bottle.
    The two words have to do with repeat sales.
    The words are "RINSE, REPEAT".

    Who ever wrote those words should be in the marketers hall of fame.

    Just thinkin'
    Linwood Austin
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  • Profile picture of the author AdmanMrWoo
    I have a copywriting buddy who calls me from time to time, when he's stumped on a copy assignment.

    He recently called with an assignment for sell something to women.

    I told him to write the letter to his wife... who is a bit of a grump.

    If he can convince her, HE'S GOT A GOOD LETTER.

    He said, he couldn't do it 'cause she would never fall for such an offer.

    So I wrote the headline for him... In my mind, I was speaking to his wife.

    I imagined that I used her first name (Hey, Carolyn) then continued:


    FINALLY I CAN SHOW WOMEN EVERYWHERE HOW TO TAP INTO A SECRET POWER THAT BRINGS THEM THE ULTIMATE IN LOVE, SATISFACTION, DESIRES AND FULFILLMENT EVEN IF YOU'RE FRUSTRATED WITH YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW.



    I felt that the word FINALLY... had a lot of power in it... kind of proving that I've been working on this thing for a long time.



    Anyway, he was thrilled with the direction I sent him.



    Just thinkin'
    Linwood
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    • Originally Posted by AdmanMrWoo View Post

      I felt that the word FINALLY... had a lot of power in it... kind of proving that I've been working on this thing for a long time.
      I love seeing the word Finally at the beginning of a headline.

      You can use it in almost any instance.

      It conveys a pent up frustration on the author's part...as though someone in authority is keeping this secret from getting out., and somehow, the writer has broken free, allowing us to get the good news...at last.

      It also indicates a pent up demand. As though crowds f people have been eagerly waiting for this solution to arrive....to fix a problem that we urgently needed fixed.

      Apparently, I just wanted everyone to know how smart I am.
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  • Profile picture of the author AdmanMrWoo
    The trick I was trying to suggest to my copywriting buddy/client... was to write his letter to a REAL PERSON... his first effort was like he was speaking to an audience of women in an auditorium.



    Think of a real person, and your message will be more BELIEVABLE and if they BELIEVE what cha say... you're almost there.
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  • Awesome anecdote - "finally" definitely adds something powerful there; hard not to gravitate towards a potent secret being shared at long last.

    Although, you might now get the call to pen your friend's anniversary card inscriptions
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  • Profile picture of the author AdmanMrWoo
    IS "RINSE & REPEAT" NLP?
    There are a few dudes out there who make a big fuss about NLP as if it's some new magic voodoo power in words and marketing.

    But NLP is as old as Jesus and Paul.

    Even babies use NLP to get what they want.

    If crying doesn't work, they use cooing.

    Rinse and Repeat is authoritative --- just a brief comment from someone who ought to know how the product works.



    Normally I argue for LOOOONG WINDED sales letters.

    But these two words are killer.



    Just thinkin'
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  • Profile picture of the author AdmanMrWoo
    Oh by the way... Dr. Bronner's Soap... has no shortage of words.

    They use LONG copy on the soap bottle.

    Just thinkin'
    https://www.swansonvitamins.com/dr-b...content=Beauty
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  • Profile picture of the author AdmanMrWoo
    Years ago... my friend Charlotte went to a lunch with a bunch of her lady friends.

    It was basically a bitch session about their husbands.

    Turns out, their husbands would help the neighbor lady more eagerly than they would help out around the house.

    Finally, it dawned on Charlotte, that the neighbor lady had two powerful words that the wife would never use. She told the ladies her new theory...

    "Ladies," she said, "the neighbor lady always says 'Please' and 'Thank you'... perhaps you can use those words too."

    I suspect good marketers should use 'Please' and 'Thank you" as well.

    Just thinkin'
    Linwood
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    I've long been a proponent of 'please', 'thank you' and 'that's so kind of you'. From restaurant service to business deals - it works. It's also used daily in my family - long time habit.

    It never pays to be rude to someone who does not have the authority to solve the problems you are facing. That said - It can be productive to be a bit intimidating to someone who CAN fix what's wrong....but the moment you get what you wanted ...back down into the 'so kind of you' stance and make the person feel good about giving you what you want.

    The customer is NOT always right - but his opinion should be respected even as you explain why he is not right. If you walk away thinking "I really showed him up" - you lose.
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    • Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      the moment you get what you wanted ...back down into the 'so kind of you' stance and make the person feel good about giving you what you want.

      The customer is NOT always right - but his opinion should be respected even as you explain why he is not right. If you walk away thinking "I really showed him up" - you lose.
      I wish every retailer understood that.

      A few times, I let a customer get the better of me. Meaning I lose my temper a little. I never yell or throw things...but I start talking in a more clipped manner. Always polite...but not warm. And I know it shows.

      Of course, the minute they are gone, I think of all the people they are going to tell about this experience. The business lost for no reason.

      I think I've actually raised my voice to a customer 5 times in my life. All were a mistake.
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  • Profile picture of the author Medon
    Yeah, maybe the RINSE, and REPEAT keywords are great sales generators but only to those who adhere to instructions. Do some people even read a product's manual? In my opinion, words such as EXTRA 200ml do not miss our eyes.
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