Tag Archives: commercial

If I Sold This Stuff, I’d Make a Fortune

Have you ever wondered who reads what and how much of it they read? finalsaleWell, if you have a moment I just happen to have a few figures tucked away in my belly button… Here we go. Did you know that nearly 17% of readers choose thrillers, while about the same number prefer a good science-fiction novel? Romance accounts for 18% and mysteries top out over 30%.

What we have here are plain and simple percentages. Never had much use for them myself, but then again, they’re a fact of life and oh, what a fact they are.

You’ll find percentages in everything from political poles to nautical charts, school blackboards and hot dog carts.

I guess if I had a pet peeve, it would be percentages and commercials.

First, let’s determine exactly what a peeve is and whether or not it would make a desirable pet.

I imagine one as a nasty little fuzz ball that growls and attempts to remove a chunk of your flesh at any point in time it deems convenient.

Now that we’ve hashed out the worthiness of the pet peeve pet we can get down to business… I’m having difficulty remembering… That’s right, “the consumer commercial.”

Do you ever get tired of…

“Today only we’re marking 30% off of each and every suit, but that’s not all. Buy one shirt for the regular price of $74 .99 and get 10% off the next five purchased.”

Or, “We’re having our New Year’s, Valentines, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day sale, August 1st this year. Save 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80% and up to 90% one day only. On August 2nd we’ll celebrate M.L.K. day, Presidents’ Day, Columbus Day, Yom Kippur, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, Toddler’s Day (just in case such a day is enacted, I wouldn’t want to offend anyone) and Groundhog Day, where we’ll increase prices 20% to 90% depending upon the item.”

And who could forget? “This Saturday at C K Hacks: 20% off all pocket books, 30% off all shoes, 40% off all Clump-Skunker skirts and tops and 10% off, your choice of any item for a grand total of 100% off. Remember, that’s one day only at C K Hacks, under the overpass at Knuckles Road and South Posey Drive. zip code, 11ty12”

And my favorite:

“Only at the Eyeball Barn, purchase Lasix surgery for one eye and get 50% off the second eye. We guarantee our work for 795 blinks (that’s for each eye, an unprecedented warranty in the eye surgery game) extended warranties available.”

I guess after all is said and done, the American consumer is going to purchase whatever it wants whenever it wants, regardless of all the retail hype. We’re a savvy bunch in that respect.

Which reminds me, I’ve only completed 40% of my first set of rewrites on my latest book. I best get busy before I’m looking at 0% sales. Of course, if I slash the price in half, I’ll probably sell twice the number of books that I would, had I left the price intact.

So, in essence, I’m reaping twice the benefits with only half of the work. And, what really makes this a sweet deal is the bottom line. 0% sales equals 0% sales. Cut that in half and you have 0% sales less half. What does all this mean? I’m ready for next April 15th, nine months in advance, because the paperwork is done.

Why I didn’t think of this earlier…

Leave a comment

Filed under On writing

Please Run That by Me One More Time…and Try to Make Some Sense This Time

Dog sunny Day Afternoon

Dog sunny Day Afternoon (Photo credit: allert)

Whether writing a novel, a novella or short story, I’ve learned that just because I know what’s in my brain, doesn’t mean my readers do. I must convey my ideas to my readership in a clear and concise fashion. In other words, they must know what I know.

I find that in the advertising and packaging industries, this particular formula does not ring true.

For instance (and allow me to set the scene):

A slightly disheveled bedroom, early morning light streams through the windows. A young couple awakens. The man, in his early twenties, rolls from the bed, donning nothing but tighty-whities. He pulls on a pair of pants, all the while smiling at the attractive young lady still lying in the bed. As he heads for the bathroom, the woman throws back the covers and steps onto the floor, wearing a man’s button-up shirt with the fringes of her underwear visible from behind. She also makes her way to the bathroom.

The scene changes: Both stand in front of a large mirror, the female shaving her head with a disposable razor as the man scrubs his teeth with a used toilet brush. The camera pans back, the screen darkens and a company’s logo appears, finally revealing what the commercial is actually trying to sell.

Not exactly “clear and concise”, is it?

I’ll admit that example was a little over the top, but come on. It seems that some commercials are written for absolutely nothing… Kinda makes you wonder from which elementary school these advertisers obtained their degrees? Moreover, what company would actually purchase these ads to promote their products?

Maybe I should rethink my career choice?

Continuing the bedroom theme, in the early 1970s, the Ivory Snow Company chose a pretty young actress cuddling an adorable infant to grace their boxes. This young woman turned out to be none other than porn star Marilyn Chambers. Talk about burying the lead…clear and concise? I think not.

Now let’s jump on our ladders and crawl out of the bathroom.

There’s a commercial that has recently surfaced that promises pure dog and cat food. It asks the viewer if the food that they’re feeding their pet now contains the proper nutrients in the appropriate amounts; such as, “Is your pet getting too much protein?”


Stop the presses. Correct me if I’m wrong, but unless things have changed recently, cats and dogs are carnivores. If they were living in the wild, they would eat nothing but protein, except for the occasional grass salad. If you want to sell me dog food, sell me dog food. I don’t need a multivitamin for my pet…clear and concise? Nope.

 ‘Nuff said.

I believe I have laid some of your most worrisome questions to rest which leaves me with a very satisfied feeling. One could almost use the term “warm and fuzzy” to describe it.

Oh, and the product being advertised in my example earlier in this post? It was obviously a commercial introducing a new anti-inflammatory cream exclusively for vegan dogs and cats. Duh.

Leave a comment

Filed under On writing

Have I Got a Deal for You!

Dollar Sign in Space - Illustration

(Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

Have you ever paid attention, I mean close attention, to all the folks in the world who want to give you free stuff? If not free, then it’s at such a reduced price as to make it seem free.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Allow me to step back and start at the beginning. Many items, gadgets, cleaning supplies and just about anything else is offered to us in droves on television commercials and its big brother, the infomercial.

For instance, to enjoy all of the world’s niceties, we want to live a long and fruitful life. To do so, one might start exercising. You can get a complete program, including diet suggestions, work-out regiments and anything else you’ll need to become a lean, mean attractive machine.

One of these commercials would go something like this:

“…How much would you expect to pay for a weight-loss product like this? $300? $200? $100? No! You can get this complete program for four easy payments of $19.95. And if you order within the next ten minutes, we will knock off two payments and add the butt-a-lyzer, an $80 value absolutely free.”

“Hold the phones! Order within the next thirty seconds and we’ll knock off one more payment. So you get the complete workout program, including 174 CDs, a 900 page workout booklet, a 600 page diet and recipe book with thousands of recipes designed to drop pounds almost instantly, and the world famous butt-a-lyzer, the latest in home workout equipment. It works your traps, lats, pecs, quads, hams, arms, ankles, teeth, toes, ears, eyes, nose, tongue and hair.”

“A $3,964 value, and it can be yours for only $19.95. Order within the next nanosecond and upgrade to free-shipping guaranteed to be at your doorstep in 12-16 weeks.”

“Wow! What a bargain!”

Next, we have (and this includes a plethora of different categories), what I like to call “double ‘em up, big boy.” And it goes something like this:

“How many times has this happened to you? Your husband starts a bonfire in the middle of the kitchen in order to cook chili for the big game. What a mess! And then there’s that youngster of yours. He rents a paint-spraying rig and paints every house in the neighborhood black with white trim and purple shutters. Or that nagging cloths thief who breaks into your house and absconds with all of your garments, only to return them later, stained with blood, grass and red wine.”

“What will you do?”

“Introducing Kleenitol, the industrial strength cleaner that will clean it all! Mortar off of bricks, grease off that filthy car engine, and even more delicate jobs, like filthy hands. Our product can also sterilize cuts, scrapes, lacerations, abrasions, contusions, and any other medical situation you may encounter, all for the low price of $29.95.”

“But wait! That’s not all!”

“We’re going to double that offer, and all you have to do is pay additional shipping and handling. And if you order now, we’ll include a 1988 Mercury Marque!”

See what I mean? Doesn’t it give you that warm fuzzy feeling way down deep in your loins that total strangers care so much for your needs?

Or could it be that’s smoke they’re blowing up your shorts?

Leave a comment

Filed under On writing