Bringing a postcard back from the dead

22 replies
Got called in to fix the bad response to a Joe Polish postcard.

Checked that it wasn't going to a bad neighbourhood first.

Fine.

So had to think like the lady glancing at it the first time.

Typically she would see the words "carpet cleaning"
and the decision is made..."nope don't need it."

No matter how persuasive the message was, she wasn't going to buy
because she made up her mind she doesn't need her carpets cleaned.

We need new news to snap her out of the yes or no to carpet cleaning.

Enter a creepy problem.

One that can't be ignored.

It's right in front of her face

It's a blown up bug coming her way

Something women freak out over.

Now we have her attention.

Then we give the nasty facts about them.

The numbers of them in 1 square metre of carpet.

How they affect peoples health.

How the 2 ways she could kill them aren't a viable solution.

The only way to kill them
without risk to her, her family, her pets and her carpet.

And the guy coming in to kill and remove them is safe.

For the carpet cleaner, he is re-positioned in his market as
the first carpet dust mite removal guy.

Straight out of the book Positioning
and the battle for the mind.

Also it's the first part of Gary Bencivenga's
Persuasion Equation.

He no longer is in the competitive carpet cleaning business.

Here's what the postcard looks like...

Best,
Ewen



Added original postcard 9/8/2013


#bad #postcard
  • Ewen,

    Great PC. I do have 2 suggestions.

    Headline must be on top.

    Have These Dangerous Dust Mites Invaded Your Home?
    or
    Dangerous Dust Mites Spotted Invading Homes Are You Protected?

    Then use the THESE AND 100,000 agitation right below the headline.

    After the text block that starts off with "Here's the skin crawling stats", I would quote a third party source. i.e. (source: Center For Disease Control)

    Frank Kern at the 2011 Info Summit talked about this very thing. He makes a valid point that consumers are highly skeptical of the business sending them information. But when they see a third party source quoted it builds even more confidence between customer and the company making the offer.

    UPDATE: I just noticed he has 2 certificates. That's one to many and redundant. Also under his picture there are 2 sentences that are meaningless to the customer.

    They are: "Your home is safe because only me is in there." and "I've passed police scrutiny". Useless text and wasted white space.

    Where are the testimonials? At least one should be shown on the PC.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8362986].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by ThePromotionalGuy View Post

      Ewen,

      Great PC. I do have 2 suggestions.

      Headline must be on top.

      Have These Dangerous Dust Mites Invaded Your Home?
      or
      Dangerous Dust Mites Spotted Invading Homes Are You Protected?

      Then use the THESE AND 100,000 agitation right below the headline.

      After the text block that starts off with "Here's the skin crawling stats", I would quote a third party source. i.e. (source: Center For Disease Control)

      Frank Kern at the 2011 Info Summit talked about this very thing. He makes a valid point that consumers are highly skeptical of the business sending them information. But when they see a third party source quoted it builds even more confidence between customer and the company making the offer.

      UPDATE: I just noticed he has 2 certificates. That's one to many and redundant. Also under his picture there are 2 sentences that are meaningless to the customer.

      They are: "Your home is safe because only me is in there." and "I've passed police scrutiny". Useless text and wasted white space.

      Where are the testimonials? At least one should be shown on the PC.
      Thanks for the scrutiny.

      I see no problem with a one worded headline,
      when you consider it's main job is to get the reader to read the next line.

      I did consider to quote the source of the data, as you mentioned.
      However space didn't allow it.

      Same with testimonials.
      Had to use 2 designers as it was to get them to fit
      what you see in.

      Being very specific with numbers increases believability.
      You'll see I have used them numerous times.

      I don't see the "your home is safe..." being meaningless.

      I've seen research showing having strangers in the home is a safety concern.
      And more than one person increases that perceived risk. Gave reason why the home will be safe. The reason doesn't have to be strong when you use the word "because".
      People complied for very weak reasons to do things in trials, as seen in the book Influence.

      Having 2 third party seals adds more sense of safety than one I would of thought.

      Best,
      Ewen
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8363083].message }}
      • Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

        Thanks for the scrutiny.

        I see no problem with a one worded headline,
        when you consider it's main job is to get the reader to read the next line.
        Where in your headline does it state the problem to the reader and why should they read any farther? Can this headline alone pass the National Enquirer headline test?

        When I separate your headline where all I see is the word "These" with an arrow pointing at a bug, I as the reader am not directed or compelled to take any action.

        That's why Problem - Agitate - Solve is the formula copywriters live and swear by and produces higher direct response rates.

        Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

        I did consider to quote the source of the data, as you mentioned. However space didn't allow it.
        You have the space put it's taken up by other useless text that takes away from the flow of the content.

        Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

        Same with testimonials. Had to use 2 designers as it was to get them to fit what you see in.
        Same response above.

        Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

        Being very specific with numbers increases believability. You'll see I have used them numerous times.
        Completely agree.

        Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

        I don't see the "your home is safe..." being meaningless.
        It is when the story is about bugs in rugs and how the lady of the home can have them extracted.

        Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

        I've seen research showing having strangers in the home is a safety concern. And more than one person increases that perceived risk. Gave reason why the home will be safe. The reason doesn't have to be strong when you use the word "because".
        It is a safety concern, but when you bring it up in the body of the copy now you introduce a whole new dynamic to the copy and gone off topic.

        Now you've got the reader more concerned about who this person(s) are that might be in her home and then you mention law enforcement scrutinized the guy, so now her attention about the critters you've been talking about that are in her home has been minimized. You are going to lose the reader at this point.

        Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

        Having 2 third party seals adds more sense of safety than one I would of thought.
        This is like saying, "I'm certified..." and then as if you didn't think the reader remembered it's repeated again. "Oh by the way did I mention I'm certified." It's redundant.

        I would recommend you tweak and split test this mailing to find out which is really pulling in the leads.

        Good Luck!
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8365813].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
    Your headline needs work.

    It's not entirely clear what you're saying and too
    dense.

    You could lose everything before
    Have These Dangerous Dust Mites Invaded
    Your Home
    and the ad would work.

    Also what about a caption under the picture?

    Maybe
    100,000 Dust mites like these could be living
    in every square metre of your carpet. Read on to discover
    how to get rid of them...

    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8366434].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author SashaLee
    Hi there,

    Great piece Ewen. Interestingly, you have no testimonials - is that on purpose?

    I'd also be interested if you tested different headlines to get to this point, or whether this is your virgin sailing?

    I wouldn't be so brash as to say you MUST do something - there are no hard or fast rules and the directives that are currently in place for direct mail are there to be tested, broken and experimented with.

    Has his mailings turned into cash?

    All the best,

    Sasha.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8367618].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Its Trish
      There were some comments about the headline. But to me, the BIG ARROW and huge bug pulled me in & got my attention the same way a traditional headline would have.

      At the end of the day, it engaged me, and got me to read the main copy. I think it's a winner.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8370433].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Mr. Subtle
    Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

    Got called in to fix the bad response to a Joe Polish postcard.

    Checked that it wasn't going to a bad neighbourhood first.

    Fine.

    So had to think like the lady glancing at it the first time.

    Typically she would see the words "carpet cleaning"
    and the decision is made..."nope don't need it."

    No matter how persuasive the message was, she wasn't going to buy
    because she made up her mind she doesn't need her carpets cleaned.

    We need new news to snap her out of the yes or no to carpet cleaning.

    Enter a creepy problem.

    One that can't be ignored.

    It's right in front of her face

    It's a blown up bug coming her way

    Something women freak out over.

    Now we have her attention.

    Then we give the nasty facts about them.
    Polish has been doing scary ads about bugs (carpet mites) for a long time. Note the sample mailer below:



    If you look close you'll see a spot where a .32 cent stamp was supposed to be attached. .32 cents was first class postage back in the mid-90s.

    Polish has done many such ads.

    Carlton relates a story about the ongoing debate between him and Polish on what makes people buy carpet cleaning. Polish thinks it's scary ads with bugs and Carlton believes women want their carpets cleaned just before they have guests/friends/relatives over for parties. Who is right? Both are.
    Signature

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8372925].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by Mr. Subtle View Post

      Polish has been doing scary ads about bugs (carpet mites) for a long time. Note the sample mailer below:
      Thanks.

      Very interesting because client who used the Joe Polish postcard
      didn't mention or seem to know about the bug angle.

      I didn't know Joe had done the bug postcard either.

      Best,
      Ewen
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8373278].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
    I think its pretty clear that ewen knows what he's doing... people can critique it all they want but the fact is Ewen is actually out there doing it.

    Postcard works good enough that I'm going to have to call and get my carpets cleaned.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8373021].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    I'm curious what was wrong with the original Joe Polish postcard your client was using if indeed it was a Joe Polish postcard given that it's supposed to be tried, tested and true. Or was it that the postcard was good but the client was dropping the ball?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8373429].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by misterme View Post

      I'm curious what was wrong with the original Joe Polish postcard your client was using if indeed it was a Joe Polish postcard given that it's supposed to be tried, tested and true. Or was it that the postcard was good but the client was dropping the ball?
      I wondered the same thing too.

      That's when i checked to see if it was going to the
      right area of town.

      From what he said it was in the better parts, which is spot on because they are more house proud.

      So I needed to think what the woman reader would think
      when first laying eyes on the postcard.

      And my reasoning was, and still is, she already has
      her mind made up that her carpets are clean.

      So as soon as she sees those 2 words, carpet cleaning,
      it's over.

      When you have labels on you, whether you put them on yourself, or somebody does, people decide what you are all about.

      So we get out of that battle and move over to something that is new to the reader and very relevant.

      Carpet cleaners have been around for a long time now so people have a good idea what they are about.

      Markets move on.

      What once worked well can work less until they don't.

      2 books come to mind on this subject are,
      Positioning and Breakthrough Advertising.

      Best,
      Ewen
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8373490].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author SashaLee
      Originally Posted by misterme View Post

      I'm curious what was wrong with the original Joe Polish postcard your client was using if indeed it was a Joe Polish postcard given that it's supposed to be tried, tested and true. Or was it that the postcard was good but the client was dropping the ball?
      Hi Ewen,

      Did you actually SEE the original postcard? can you post a picture of it here so we can see what The Dead look like, lol?

      All the best,

      Sasha
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8378053].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
        Originally Posted by SashaLee View Post

        Hi Ewen,

        Did you actually SEE the original postcard? can you post a picture of it here so we can see what The Dead look like, lol?

        All the best,

        Sasha
        Here you go...


        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8378301].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Mr. Subtle








    "It's deja vu all over again." "It's deja vu all over again." "It's deja vu all over again."

    If Pete and Repeat were carpet cleaners and Pete couldn't come up with an idea for a headline ... who would write it?
    Signature

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8378442].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by Mr. Subtle View Post


      "It's deja vu all over again." "It's deja vu all over again." "It's deja vu all over again."

      If Pete and Repeat were carpet cleaners and Pete couldn't come up with an idea for a headline ... who would write it?
      https://www.google.co.nz/search?clie...hannel=suggest

      Went 5 pages in and the same headline comes up.

      Saw one being "outrageous", using the word fluffy
      to replace clean.

      Didn't know the carpet cleaner family were so incestuous!

      Best,
      Ewen
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8378571].message }}
  • Ewen, . . .that position change was breathtaking. I guess those are the kinds of marketing techniques that come with strategic reading and good research practices. That was a very nice perspective change, I must say.

    Thanks for the new view.

    LLS
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8378590].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Craig Paulson
      Call me "Captain Obvious", but testing is the only way to get the answers you need. I know everyone has an opinion of what is right and/or wrong with any particular advertisement, postcard, whatever. But let the market decide.
      Signature
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8379136].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author jwrbusiness
    Well it just sold my wife. Talking to her about our postcard being revised and she glimpsed at my computer while I was in the kitchen now she is talking about carpet cleaning.

    That nasty bug worked, got attention, next line, next line and I might be getting carpet service this week.

    It worked.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8431946].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by jwrbusiness View Post

      Well it just sold my wife. Talking to her about our postcard being revised and she glimpsed at my computer while I was in the kitchen now she is talking about carpet cleaning.

      That nasty bug worked, got attention, next line, next line and I might be getting carpet service this week.

      It worked.
      Had she been thinking about getting your carpets cleaned
      before she saw this?

      Thank you.

      Ewen
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8431971].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    Originally Posted by natebunger View Post

    Most of the time, bugs and other pests inside the house are covered by the services of an insurance company. In case you forgot to insure it because you were excited to live your life in it, then, it is better to take them down manually now. Call the professionals.
    Geez you are making lots of crap comments tonight!

    Ewen
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8478231].message }}

Trending Topics