NY Credit Unions Put People Over Profit in Ad

With banks losing a lot of credibility over the past few months due to the mortgage debacle, why aren't more people flocking to their local credit unions?

CreditUnionsFORYOU.com isn't missing a beat and begs the question with this ad, shown on the left, which appeared recently in the NY Times. This ad spells out the New York credit union credo of local, not-for-profit financial institutions that are owned by the people who use them - New Yorkers, their customers - not shareholders. 

People who are "looking for a safe and secure financial institution they can trust" are urged to click on the CreditUnionsFORYOU.com web site to learn more.

The tagline written at the bottom of the ad sums it all up very nicely with the words, "Credit Unions. Open To You. True to You." 

If you want to read more about Credit Union marketing, check out this web site and poke around. Some interesting stuff there. And to find a credit union near you, you can click on the CreditUnionsFORYOU.com web site or click here.


Tips to create catchy phrases used in marketing materials

Funny thing. On January 21, someone "Googled" the keywords, "tips to create catchy phrases used in marketing materials," and landed on my blog. 

(This tidbit of information, by the way, came to me via Google's "Dashboard Analytics" service, a service which happens to be free to blogspot.com users.) 

Anyway ...

Not sure if that someone found what they were looking for - however, what a great idea for a post! So thanks for the idea whoever you were. And should you happen to come back anytime soon, here are a few tips to help you out.

1) Catchy advertising phrases are often spin-offs of common colloquial phrases, cliches or popular slang.

It's easier to remember a new phrase if it's like one you already know very well. Examples:

Trans World Airways once used the slogan, "Sight for Soaring Eyes" - a spin-off of the cliche "sight for sore eyes."

Consider the Ralston Purina Pet Food slogan, "All you add is love." How close is that to words in the Beatles popular 1960s song, "All you need is love"? Or Nortel's slogan, "Come together" - compared to the Beatles line, "Come together, right now ... over me"?

Geek Squad used "I heart nerds," which is a twist of the "I heart ____(anything - fill in the blank)" colloquial phrase. That phrase, by the way, became insanely popular following the
"I love NY" tourism campaign which began in 1977, with a red heart transposed for the word "love" in the logo version.

Apple Computers used "Think outside the box," a phrase that was extremely popular in the business world in the 1990's. Taco Bell changed it to "Think outside the bun." 

Syntel used "Consider IT done," a phrase we all know - but changed the "it" to "IT" (eye-tee - as in "Information Technology").

And don't forget Morton's Salt - "When it rains, it pours." A great slogan because damp weather often makes salt hard to pour out of the salt shaker. 

2) When in doubt, rhyme.

Click here for a FREE online rhyming Dictionary, if you need help. Then you can create slogans like:

"Once you go Mac. You'll never go back." - Apple Computers
"Easy, Breezy, Beautiful, CoverGirl" - CoverGirl
"Once you pop, the fun don't stop." - Pringles 
"Ore-Ida! It's all-righta!" - Ore-Ida
"Leggo my Eggo" - Eggo Waffles

3) Compare and contrast.

"Pork, the other white meat." - Pork council
People were shunning red meat when this slogan came out, so white meat was something people WANTED. And the thing that came to mind mostly when you said "white meat" was chicken, not pork ... thus the slogan's effectiveness.

"The uncola" - 7-Up
What you don't want - cola. What you do want - 7-Up?
Kind of sounds like an "uncool" soda, though - but hey, the brand went with this in the 1970's anyway. 

"We're number 2. We try harder." - Avis
People love underdogs. 

Well, I could go on and on - but I've got work to do. So I'll leave you with my best advice ...

Just look at a bunch of famous slogans - you can find long lists of them online. And do a little "deconstructive" thinking about them. What makes them catchy to you? Does it sound like something you've heard before? Does it rhyme? And start noticing trends in slogans - how one famous slogan does something similar to another famous slogan. Count the number of words, the way the slogan plays with spelling or punctuation, and see if you can spot trends.

In the early 2000's, it was popular for companies to have taglines that were three words, each followed by a period, like:

"Live. Laugh. Love."
"Experience. Strength. Reliability."


What's. Funny. Now. 
A reverse trend. People have started writing like this in their own non-commercial communications. I've. Seen. It. On. Many. Blogs. 



Hyundai's Assurance of "Certainty in uncertain times" brings to mind REPO MAN

If you've been watching any TV lately (who hasn't with the recent inauguration?), you might have seen the new Hyundai commercial, touting the car company's latest twist on the old fashioned warranty, a new assurance program. 

It's the Hyundai: Lose Your Job, Return Your Car campaign, as reported on The Huffington Post. And you can also read about it here

What do you think - car marketing genius in a horrendous economy OR automaker suicide? Maybe they should do this with home sales ... Century 21: Lose Your Job, Return Your House. (Wait, don't they call that foreclosure?) 

When you get into the details of the new Hyundai Assurance program, which attempts to give you some sort of "break" if you can't afford to keep your car, you might be thinking repo man. Who knows if other car makers will follow suit?


Cataloger Sends Greeting Card to Spur Post-Holiday Sales

When this arrived in the mail, I sensed a card was inside. Lo and behold, it was a card, sent by a company I have ordered holiday gifts from every now and then - The Vermont Country Store. Perhaps you've received one of their famous catalogs in the mail. 

Nevertheless, there's nothing like getting a holiday card in the mail AFTER the holidays. Call it a belated holiday card. I was thinking, boy - this is LATE. OR maybe it's a thank you card ... 

Sure enough - that's what it was, a thank you card, along with a nice little offer for FREE shipping. Nice touch and great marketing.

Copy Note:  The gracious letter inside the card invites the reader to check out their "new winter offerings." It might also have been a good idea to also suggest checking out items to help me get ready for the spring, if I'm note ready to "buy now" - like handy cleaning aids, linens to refresh my home's look, and so forth; after all the free shipping deal expires March 31st. 

Well, keep those cards and letters coming. 


Quotes For This Day of Service

Service is the rent we pay to be living. It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time.

He who wishes to secure the good of others, has already secured his own.


In My Mailbox: Selling Cancer Insurance

Cancer insurance is - for some reason - a tough sell. Maybe it's because people who have a major medical health insurance plan or Medicare feel they're already covered by their primary plan - so why buy an additional policy? Maybe it's because people don't like to think about getting cancer and buying an insurance policy specifically for that "dread disease" is spooky. If I knew the exact reason, I'd be able to figure out a way to overcome the sticking point and I'd be an expert in selling cancer insurance. But truth be told, I can only speak from experience in having written some cancer insurance direct mail packages over the years and have received a few in the mail. In fact, the other day, I received such a package from Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company. Here's what they sent ...

Outside Envelope: 6 x 9 with two die cut windows. The top window shows a mysterious code (the piece code from the application) and the words, "Please Reply Today!" The bottom window has my address area showing through it. The Mutual of Omaha logo and return address are in the upper left corner, and the package uses a standard PRSRT boxed indicia for postage in the upper right corner. 
No teaser copy or sales pitch on the front of the envelope. No promise or benefit. 

On the back of the envelope is big, bold copy about  "easy ways to apply" (by phone, online, or mail) and a blurb to "See how supplemental cancer insurance can pay you thousands of dollars over a lifetime! Details inside." (Ick. Who wants a lifetime of cancer? I know the headline doesn't mean that - it means over the course of your lifetime, you may develop cancer and then collect benefits through the plan - but that subhead's a little misleading, don't you think?) 

Once inside the envelope, I pull out the addressing vehicle - which is the application. Boring. No sales pitch. No teaser copy. It just says "Application For Cancer Insurance" in big, bold type at the top, and I see the monthly rates on the application ... $5.95 for individual, $11.90 for family. Ok, not too expensive. 

Where's the letter? There are three pages nested behind the application. The main letter is chock full of old-fashioned courier font type, so much so that I miss the words "Dear Cynthia" on it and think the whole thing is out of order, and I start reading a second letter. Which is ok. The second letter has a compelling message. It pushes the need for this supplemental coverage whether you have major medical insurance or Medicare. 

Back to the main letter - now that I finally have the pages in order. It gives me three reasons to apply: a stat regarding the likelihood that I will get cancer in my lifetime, the medical cost of cancer treatment being very expensive, and the fact that this cancer insurance will pay a lot of money for a small monthly premium should I have a claim. Plus, there's this really cool thing that's buried in the third point (maybe it should have been a fourth point - it seems worthy enough) ...

"Once you are approved for coverage, a donation will be made on your behalf, at no additional cost to you, to the John Wayne Cancer Foundation which helps support cancer research."
Why didn't you say so first? This is big. Major. A really cool thing. I love it!
That MIGHT make me buy this insurance. Why isn't it the big idea, the concept, more upfront, highlighted?

Well, then there's the brochure (pictured above).  Lots of "Pays for... Pays for... Pays for..." on the cover - but no dollar figures. Why? No mention of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation donation either. Again, why? I have to open the brochure to see that that plan "Pays $50.00 a day..." for this, "Pays $1,000.00 for that," and "Pays Up to $800.00..." for something else and so forth. Where I was taught to sell insurance, we'd put those dollar figures on the brochure cover. And there's plenty of room on this cover for those amounts, so I'm a little perplexed. Don't these folks want to sell this coverage? 

Further into the brochure, now the inside spread, there's still no mention of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. And the individual and monthly rates are pre-printed, which leads me to wonder why the letter was nested behind the app. and personalized?

Onto the back cover - finally, the John Wayne Cancer Foundation is mentioned, buried in body copy. No headline pointing it out. I only see it because I am looking for it in regard to this post.

So how to know if this package does well in the market? The only way for me to find out is to wait and see if MofO sends it to me again. If I get the same package next year, I'll know it did well. For now, I'll keep this one in my files.


Dang Planet Fitness Postcard!

At first glance, this is the same postcard that always comes in my mailbox from Planet Fitness every now and then. Except, wait ...

That's one catchy headline!

But then the copy on this thing is anything but soft. 

The message on the addressing side includes a line that says, "We are not here to kiss your butt, only to kick it if that's what you need." 



The Art Linklover Show - Reruns from the previous week in blogging

Bloggers Say The Darnedest Things ...
"Gone are the days of super-duper high volume direct mail, blanketing anyone who seems close to the target audience. DM will be used judiciously and only where it makes sense." U Suzanne Obermire on hearing the latest news from the U.S. Postal Service about ending their fiscal year delivering 9.5 billion fewer letters and packages than the year before.
"So maybe that career in house flipping didn’t really pan out. Or maybe you tried cashing in on other’s misfortunes with that Find Fortunes in Foreclosures training course. Forget that. The market WILL bounce back. And when it does, people will need help sprucing up before they sell. And that means... Home stager training with The Haverhill Institute of Staging & Design! $24 to $31 an hour? Sign me up!" @ Make The Logo Bigger 


Dove Recruits Chocolatiers Via DR ad in USA Today

Are home parties a good source of income? 

This ad in yesterday's USA Today caught my eye. The headline plays to current events - and the pay off is yummy! 
With today's tough economy and jobs being hard to find, the makers of Dove chocolate are promoting their latest "product" - not a new ice cream bar or box set, but rather chocolate parties held by chocolatiers! It's a new twist on the Tupperware ladies of yore that taps into the yearning many a woman (or man) has had to make a living making chocolates. It's so very Martha ... so very Parisian! So very smart on Dove's part. They call it Dove Chocolate Discoveries.
The ad features a testimonial from Jill C. Young, Chocolatier. Says she, "I do chocolate tasting parties a couple of times a week. People get to hang out with their friends and sample chocolate. Chocolate mousse. Chocolate fondue, how about a chocolate martini?" She goes on to say, "Some Chocolatiers work part-time, but I'm in it to build a career. Right now, I earn enough to cover part of the mortgage and keep all four kids on the swim team..."  Sweet! She must be selling a lot of chocolate.
The ad's call to action is either phone (1-866-922-3683) or web. And they're very upfront about the cost of starting the program: $149, which includes training, equipment and products to do four chocolate tasting parties. 
Good ad: Good use of testimonial copy to convey the main selling points of the new program. And great headline! Nice use of photography, too.
Bad ad: The phone number is puny and should be down by the web site too.

So ... what do you think? Think Dove is onto something or peddling down a well worn path were many a lingerie party and Southern Lady Home party and knock-off handbag parties have long trodden? How about the ad - like it, love it?


Free stock photos for your blog posts

Interesting imagery on your blog posts can help keep readers engaged with your messages. 

Now there's a free stock photo service where you can quickly grab photos of whatever subject you're blogging about and upload them to your site. 

It's called picapp. Photos range from news related and celebrity pics to run of the mill. 
Photos here courtesy of picapp.

To access picapp's beta site, just click here.
And have a look at the picapp blog by clicking here.


What's that font?

Ever need to find out which font is being used in an image or on a Web site? Now you can upload a scan of it to WhatTheFont.com - or submit the URL. They'll analyze your submission and send you the name of the font. For FREE! It's also a great place for designers to sell their unique font creations.

Check it out!

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