You've probably heard before that "a little advertising can't do any harm". Properly stated, it should be changed to "A little bit of advertising has got to do a lot of HARM if it's to be successful". HARM ( hook, arousal, reaction, memorize) is the formula to take a phrase or slogan and slam dunk it right into the memory of the reader. It's going to take some HARM if you want to hit a "home run" with your advertising and promotional efforts. ANd some companies are very successful because they drive their message constantly over and over into our minds. They do it with so many repeats of the message you can't help but eventually remember it. "Every body knows "things go better with Coke", or "Budwiser - It's the king of beers). But what about Crown Septic Tank Service or Bonz Rib House? How can we make sure they are remembered? We'll solve that by combining humor, information and rhymes in some of the most outrageous slogans they simply wont't be forgotten.
When you combine clever dual meanings, rhymes, or humor in an advertising slogan, you are using a tecnique I refer to as HARM to make an impression the public mind. For most of us, using HARM in our promotional efforts will involve a lot of thought. But for a very few, it will come quite easy. If ou haven't yet named your company, this is the first place to start. It's always easier to start with a name that has possibilites.
Think for a minute. If you were starting a baby diaper service and your name was Mary, you could name it "Mary's diaper service" and use "The Fast Diaper Sercice: as your slogan. You could do this but... You shouldn't! Go with a more creative name and rhyme it with someting very relevent to your product.
Pinky's Diaper Service - Baby Stinky? Call Pinky!
Spicy Bonz Rib House - A tasty treat to bring home.. You can't beat Spicy Bones
To have a successful HARM, you have to start with the basics and play them with the aggressiveness of the New York Yankees!
First, what is HARM and how do I get it?
H is for Hook. - 1st baseIt will take a hook line suitable for piloting a hit country song up the charts if you really want to succeed.
A is for Arousal - 2nd base The hook is the half brother of Arousal, for it is the hook that perks the willingness to be Aroused. A picture of a glass of Ice Water would be a merciless hook for a someone lost in the desert and dehydrating.
R is for Reaction - 3rd base This is the key to any slogan or phrase If you can get the response, you have triggered an interactive participant in your message.
M is for Memorize -- The Home PlateThis is the home plate in successful slogans and phrases, especially for truck or vehicle lettering. As in baseball, it doesn't matter what happens at 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, if you don't get your man here, nothing before matters, and this is true with HARM. You've got to get to home plate or you will not score.
Here is an example of a huge oil company doing more than scoring at home plate. They also had their bases loaded when that home run (memorize) knocked one hot flying ball - way out of the park!
Esso, the tiger, the tail and pure genius!
Esso created the "'Grand-Pappy" of successful business slogans with their "Tiger in your tank" promotion"! Esso wanted you and I to remember them. They wanted you and I to think Esso and not just Gasoline. They wanted you to feel that Esso was the best and no other gasoline could measure up. They succeeded! Even moreso that you can imagine.
"Put a tiger in your tank", A somewhat weak Hook line if I might say so myself! However, combined with all the ingredients of HARM, Esso delivered the most successful advertising promotion that I can remember! It was the slogan of the century and 35 years later, I still remember the orange and black tiger tails hanging off nearly every Ford, Chevy, DeSoto and AMC on our highways. Esso was as "at-home" as the salt and pepper shaker at the dinner table.
All of this happened way back when I was still a young boy, but I remember it today as clear as back then, maybe even more now that I understand the brilliance of what Esso accomplished. Back then, the drive-in theatre was where you took a date, Any car worth owning had tail fins, Hamburgers were 15 cents, and corporal punishment included a paddle with holes drilled into it and a wicked participial to administer the lesson! Yea, these where the good'ole days! But there was one more thing I remember even more than the tail fins... It was Esso and that Tiger Tail promotion. Esso had already established themselves as the premier gas brand. There was nothing higher they needed to achieve as far as branding goes. But they didn't stop there, they actually cashed in on a totally successful branding slogan and tuned it into a bit of American culture. I doubt there were 5 people in Esso's marketing areas that didn't know about that Tiger and how well he would make your car run.
So how do you top an advertising program that has already been the most successful of all times? We'll how about instead of just putting an imaginary tiger in the Fords, Ramblers, Chevys and DeSotos, why not just create a branding cult and let all of America carry the mascot for your brand? I remember the television ads whereby the animated tiger would jump in the tank right with the gas leaving only that wagging tail hanging out as evidence. It was a pretty vivid animation and left that image in your mind way back in those days of innocence. Now how could you top that? How about actually giving motorist a tiger tail to hang outside of their fuel filler caps? They did it and the motorist participated and boy oh boy - they participated in a big way. I can remember seeing 9 out of 10 cars routinely with a tiger tail hanging out of the tank. Believe me, the other fuel companies were simply out of gas when it came to competing with this frenzy of a promotion and the public completely buying into it!
It was the HARM of the century and I doubt it will ever be topped again by Esso, or any company for that matter!