Denny's Zinger: The Most Efficient Advertisement in History
A customer leaving with groceries would encounter Sheldon’s bulletin board: A wall of yellow message forms contained free ads handwritten by folks offering babysitting services, cars for sale, lawn mowing, etc.
Sheldon was the precursor of Craigslist and Angie’s List.
Hearst’s revenue came from wire racks amidst the ads. Businesses could rent these for their take-one brochures.
A network of sales reps serviced the racks.
This Two-Word Headline Brought in Customers for 25 Years
The advertiser: The Center for Enuresis — help for the families of chronic bed wetters. It is a debilitating, all-consuming problem. Constant odors and endless laundering of sheets. Yech.
A shopper leaving the supermarket is thinking about picking the kid up from school or cooking dinner.
Suddenly a huge headline jumps out at her. Amidst the delicate little take-ones with demure headlines, WET BED? dominates everything in sight.
The horrific enuresis problem leaps to the front of her brain and she stops to take the brochure.
Takeaways to Consider:
- “The headline selects the reader.” —Axel Andersson
- “Unlike direct mail, free-standing inserts or print ads (which go by the millions to everybody), a prospect picks up a single take-one and leaves all the rest for others with that niche need."
- Nothing is wasted.
- The Center for Enuresis was Sheldon Hearst’s biggest client for 25 years. This two-word headline kept them in business.
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