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More on Word of Mouth

It’s pretty much a universally accepted truth. Word-of-Mouth is the best form of advertising. And most people add… “and best of all, it’s free!”


If you remember from an earlier post, Roy Williams said that word-of-mouth (WOM) comes from 3 things:

  • Over-the-top Design
  • Over-the-top Performance
  • Over-the-top Generosity

These all cost money. You either spent money on the design, on the hiring & training a superior staff, or on the stuff you gave away.

One thing that surprised me was that Roy didn’t mention the WOM you can get from Over-the-top Advertising. Last August I ran a radio ad that said:

I couldn’t believe it. they were taking customers into the men’s bathroom. Yes, my staff was taking men and women young and old into our men’s bathroom. And they were coming out laughing and giggling. Oh yeah, and buying, too. I guess when you have a product this cool you just have to show it of whenever and wherever you can. The men’s bathroom… gotta love it. Toy House in downtown Jackson. We’re here to make you smile. (Listen to the ad)

The ad aired for one month and hasn’t been on the airwaves since. But when it first came out the response was incredible. One local DJ discussed it on the air with the local newspaper rep, wondering just what the product might be. Everywhere I went someone asked what was in the men’s bathroom. People even came up to my wife asking about the ad. And earlier today – seven months after the ad was off the air – we had a customer ask about what was in the men’s bathroom. She said she and her family had discussed it over Christmas speculating on what the product might be. She was wrong, but delighted, because she liked what it was well enough to buy one.

Yes, you can create WOM with your ads. Here’s another example I just love.

One of the sponsors of Greg O’Conner’s “The Nooner” sports talk show is a store called Bras That Fit. Yes, a store that sells bras to women is a sponsor of a daily sports talk show primarily listened to by men. Some old-school marketers are rolling in their graves. Those who lived (and died) by the mantra that you have to reach the right people must think this store owner is out of her mind. You can’t sell bras on a men’s sports talk show. Or can you?

Her message is quite simple…

“Hey guys, are you tired of hearing your wife complain about her bra? Send her to Bras That Fit…”

So let me ask you a question. Which would be more effective, a woman hearing a radio ad or a woman complaining about her bra, to which her husband replies, “Hey, why don’t you go to this store I heard about on Greenwood?”

Reaching the Right People is just one of the myths I’m going to bust at an upcoming workshop on How Ads Work. Part 1 takes place Wednesday, April 15th at 7:30am at Jackson Coffee Co., with Part 2 on May 20th. Best of all, it’s absolutely free!

And while you’re there, I’ll teach you how to design ads that get people talking about your business. Think of this as my Over-the-top Generosity to the business community. Spread the word and I’ll see you there.


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