Case Studies: Selling Transformation
The very first Mackintosh, how was it first launched? Does anybody remember the original Mackintosh ad? I know some of you, even if you're not old enough to remember it, you've seen it, right? Anybody remember? Here's a hint, it was rolled out in 1984. Does anybody remember the original Mackintosh ad? You remember it?
Was it the Big Brother ad?
Yeah, describe it, do you remember it?
So I think it was just a bunch of conformists in sort of like a rally. Big Brother was on the screen, and then some pioneer, someone just kind of rushes in.
Do you remember what she did?
Breaks the screen?
Yeah, she's got the giant hammer. You guys have seen this, right? Tell me you've seen this. You got YouTube, Google, whatever verb you wanna put in place for YouTube Googlify Mackintosh Apple in 1984. We don't have permission to show it because I don't wanna get sued by Apple. But it's out there. It's on the line, so to speak. It's on the World Wide Web, and you can watch it. It's worth watchi...
ng. It was directed by Ridley Scott. And it's exactly as you described. It's this dystopian era, all these bald people that look exactly the same and listening to Big Brother on the screen and then in runs this woman in a track suit and she's got this giant hammer. She spins around a couple times, release it, flings it, crashes through the screen and all of a sudden everybody's free. And the lines come up where it says "On January 1, 1984 Apple will introduce the Mackintosh, and you'll see why 1984 won't be like 1984." So if you've watched the ad, what wasn't ever featured in the ad? What did you never see in the ad? What did you never see?
Yeah, that, you never saw it. You never saw it because Jobs and the agency that was associated with it understood that when somebody was buying a Mackintosh they weren't buying a computer, okay. They weren't buying a computer; we'll come back to that. Let's stay on the Apple theme 'cause that's what everybody does. What about the iPod? Who remembers the original iPod ad? Did they look like this or did they look more like this? You remember those, the silhouettes dancing? Funny thing about silhouettes. And it's all messaging. Images are messaging. Designers you should get this. All designers out there, you should get this. Imagery is messaging. When someone sees a silhouette, silhouettes invite us to overlay ourselves upon it. When I see this true to form, true to life I'm looking at this woman here, I'm watching her have that experience. When it's a silhouette, it can become me. Stick figures accomplish the same thing. That's why I use stick figures throughout. When it's a stick figure we overlay ourselves on it. An author by the name of Scott McCloud wrote a great book called "Understanding Comics." But if you wanna get really great at messaging it's worth reading. And he talks about just that. The comics that we love, that we most identify with are the comics that are more stick figure like. Think about like a Dilbert, right. Whereas the ones that are Spider-man, you're watching that happen from afar. You're viewing that. If it's a stick figure you're entering in, right. So what do we have during the first iPod ads? We had not these people; we had silhouettes. What are they doing? They're dancing; they're having a good time. And what you don't really see at all in the commercials is the product. Well, except for one part of the product. You guys remember the white earbuds? You see people dancing like, I said I wasn't gonna dance again, but I did it one more time, sorry. (chuckle) You see people dancing, silhouettes. We're invited into it. And they have white earbuds. Why was that significant? Because at the time, every single music device on planet Earth had black earbuds. And Apple said we're gonna make ours white. Why? 'Cause I contend that Apple has never been in the computer business. They've never been in the music business. They have always been in the business of selling people their own individuality. Apple transforms people, and it was most clearly articulated through that 1984 ad. They transform people from mindless drones into independent, cool, fun, interesting human beings. So if you're a boring nerd like me you can buy an Apple product and now you're not. You're invited in. Apple is not in the computer business. Apple is not in the music business. Apple is not in the technology business. Apple is in the transformation business. They've recognized from day one that their products and services are vehicles that deliver people from a less desirable drone-like state into a more desirable hip, cool individual state. What they've been in the business in since 1984. Let's look at another example. Here we have a woman, she's kicked back. Appears to be early morning based on the way the sunlight is coming in. Drinking her coffee, maybe reading the news on her iPad. What product, 'cause I pulled this image, the actual image wasn't exactly this one. It was nearly identical. But what product do you think an image like this sold? Anyone wanna wager a guess? At least one of you has to try or I'm just gonna stare awkwardly. What do you think? I'm calling on you 'cause you again made eye contact? Let's get a microphone over here. You're gonna learn to stop looking at me.
You wanna know the actual product?
Yeah, what do you think? What do you think an image like this, it's at the top of the page, it's got a headline. What kind of product do you think it could be selling?
Something that delivers ease or comfort or relaxation.
Yeah, anything in particular? You wanna wager a guess? You're almost certainly going to be wrong, if it's any consolation. I picked you because you seem like you could handle it.
Yeah, for sure. I would say, just looking at the image, probably something related to the tablet.
Yeah, it could be a really cool piece of technology. Could be selling great coffee. Could be anything, right. You got an idea? Let's hear it.
I was gonna say some sort of home insurance or something like resting at ease, like some safety.
Kicked back, safety, you're thinking along the right lines. You guys are good; you're maybe too good. What it actually is, the headline was "Never Write a Check Again." "Never Write a Check Again." It was for a company called Plastiq.com. And what they do is they make it easier for you to pay babysitters, housekeepers, maybe a private chef. They don't accept credit cards. You don't wanna write a check. Use Plastiq to pay them, right. Now, they could've written something like "Pay people who can't accept credit cards even though you wanna pay with a credit card and do other stuff good and stuff." They could've done that. But instead, "Never write a Check Again." And because you never have to write a check again you'll get to experience this ultimate after euphoria. What person, like if I told my wife it's gonna be 9:00, 10:00 o'clock in the morning and you're gonna just get to kick back and sip on your coffee and just enjoy your morning and just get to chill, she'd be like that's a fairy tale. That's will never happen. We have four kids, it's not gonna freakin' happen. Who doesn't want that? Who doesn't want that moment? Keep in mind, you don't have to necessarily say, "Now the way that this product or service takes you from this less desirable before state to this more desirable is through this and then, don't do that. Don't explain the magic trick. You ruin it. You completely ruin it if you explain the magic trick. Now you have to be able to deliver on it. But you don't have to be able to deliver on it-- This is a lot of magical thinking, right. You don't have to be able to deliver on it to that same degree, but people get it. They get it. I don't like writing checks. Writing checks certainly doesn't make me feel like that. If I didn't have to write checks I'd feel a little bit more like that. Cool, I'll give it I a shot. I get it; I understand the benefit. One of our products in our portfolio is this Truconversion. It's a website optimization service you subscribe to. "It's easy to double your sales when you know exactly what your customers want." But look at her. If you're marketing, who doesn't want that? You're looking at your stats and whoohoo, yes! It's good; if you're a marketer you want that. Now note again, let's go back to silhouette. The blue overlay, we're kind of putting a nod to the whole silhouette idea. If it were truly completely true to form, then we wouldn't be inviting people to adopt that. But when you put an overlay, you make it a little more silhouette-like, it's a trigger to the brain that, okay, this can be me too. Like smokey lighting kind of thing, right. It's understood that it's not literal. This solution literally didn't make that woman at that moment in time have that response and we captured it, right. It's saying it's not a documentary. I love this. Again, my buddy at 1-800-GOT-JUNK. So it's a junk removal service, right. A junk removal service. But if you're in the junk removal business, what business are you actually in? Well, they realize at 1-800-GOT-JUNK they're not necessarily just in the business of junk removal, they're in the business of getting men out of the doghouse. Look at this guy right here, right. She likes him again, why? Because the junk is in the truck. He even got a kiss out of it. How great is that, right? So here we're seeing the after. Now look at this. Does she look happy with him? Huh-uh, 'cause there's junk there. Now watch, check this out. The truck doesn't stop, junk is gone. Magical thinking. This doesn't have to be literal. But now she's happy with him again. Here we have, person waves, truck pulls off. Watch the lady, yes, it's gone. I'm gonna do my happy dance, right. Goodbye junk, hello relief. Goodbye junk, hello relief. With one little exception, and it's remarkably tame junk. You don't see junk. You only see the junk gone or leaving, right. It doesn't say here's why we're the best junk removal thing, you wanna come have us do 'cause our people are trained and vetted and they're gonna put on those little booties before they walk in your house and blah, blah, blah. They don't give you any of that crap. You don't have to. You just have to speak to the actual desired end result. The actual desired end result is the junk is gone, relief is here. My wife likes me again, okay. I'll give you another example. This is a report that we put out years ago when we were going into the gardening space. So we were gonna do a report on vertical gardening. So we came up with this great title, super clever. "Growing Up: The Ins and Outs of Up and Down Gardening." Get it? 'Cause it's about vertical gardening? Growing up, ins and outs, up and down? Huh? Get it? Get it? It's clever, right? Yeah, your expression that I'm getting right now, I hope we got there, like, that's lame. It's like a dad joke in a title, right. Was about the same expression that we got, I know, from perspective customers 'cause they didn't buy it. Because it didn't speak to anything. We thought it was so clever. We thought it was so cute. We thought it was so cool. Nobody bought it, so we said, why don't we just say what it is. We changed it to "How To Feed a Family of Four In Just Four Square Feet of Space Even If You Don't Have a Yard." That's the subtitle. The title was, wait for it, "Vertical Gardening: How To Feed a Family of Four In Just Four Square Feet of Space Even If You Don't Have a Yard." It specifically addressed the desired end result form our market. Specifically addressed the desired end result of our market. So ask yourself right now, think about the headlines that are on your pages. Think about what you're naming. And it's okay if you name a product something that's a little cutesy. But it better not be your headline. It's okay if you reveal to them after they're on the other side of the firewall, oh, here's what we all this thing. But on the front end, you've gotta speak to what they want. Then give out your website. Think about your email copy. Think about what you're saying when you first talk to people. Are you growing up the ins and out of up and down gardening? Huh, huh, get it, get it, clever, vertical gardening, right? Are you doing that or are you just saying we're gonna show you how to feed a family of four in just four square feet of space even if you don't have a yard.