brylcreem-hair-dressing_pomade-shop1If you keep your mind open to it, marketing lessons can come when you least expect them. Here’s my most recent example…

I was at a client meeting, and it was my turn to write on the white board. As I walked to the front of the room, my client tossed me the bottle of solvent so I could remove the marker from the board.

“That stuff is pretty potent,” he said. “You don’t need much.”

As I turned to the board and began to spray, I reacted to his comment – “a little dab’ll do ya!”

To my surprise, he then said, “Ah. Brylcreem!”

“You got it,” I chuckled, and then together we both grinned and sang the famous marketing ditty from long ago “Brylcreem…a little dab’ll do ya.”

My younger colleague looked at us both like we had lost our minds – probably thinking we had succumbed to the vapors from the white board solvent.

“That’s a little before your time, I guess.”

But it hit me, what an amazing marketing feat that was! My client and I both remembered that message – word for word – decades after that campaign had stopped running.

That’s the Holy Grail of marketing. That is what we’re all longing for.

So it must be hard to do, right? Surely it can’t happen all that often. But in fact, it does. Or at least it did…in the golden age of jingles. Brylcreem was just one of the brands that cashed in on it. I can think of many others, as I’m sure you can, too if you’re over a certain age.

So where did jingles get their magic? Part of it was the catchy tunes but the real power of jingles came from their simplicity.

Jingles are the essence of a marketing message boiled down into the purest form. They are just one or two phrases that the company wants you to remember – always! Reasons why you’ll want to buy from them and why they are better than the competition.

That’s pure marketing gold and in the biz we call that a USP – a unique selling proposition.

In business-to-business marketing, a pure, simple USP can be hard to come by. The products are complicated. The audiences are sophisticated. And sometimes the clients have a hard time accepting that their high-tech, highly specialized product can be described simply. They fear that a simple message takes away from the marketing impact.

In fact, the opposite is true.

So, am I advocating the return of jingles? No. Although that would be fun, wouldn’t it?

What I am advocating is this – embrace simplicity in your messaging. It’s never been more important than it is now when we’re all being bombarded by more messages in day than we can ever possibly hope to process.

Keep it simple. Stay on message. Tell them what you want them to remember and make it easy for them to do so.

If you do it right, who knows? – maybe 50 years from now someone will write a blog about your campaign.

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Rich CarangoCarango_color is president of Schubert Communications. Starting at Schubert in 1994, Rich now heads the agency in creating effective IMC campaigns, PR campaigns, advertising, brochures, direct mail, logos, websites, multimedia and content. Rich holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in design from American University. When Rich is not in the office he enjoys spending time with his wife and children and is a huge history buff.

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