Yup, an ad in the New York Times for a pillow. This direct response ad has been running in the Sunday edition of the Times for a few months now. And ads in the New York TImes aren’t cheap. So obviously, it’s working.
One thing I hear a lot from business people is, “But I’m selling the same thing eveyrone else is selling. I can only compete on offering it cheaper.”
This direct response ad is a perfect example of how to take a relatively mundane product…make it seem special…and sell it at a premium price. The Standard MyPillow sells for $79.95. And their Deluxe PremiumKing pillow sells for $109.
Not only that, but this clever inventor and direct marketer has taken something most people typically have to see and feel before they buy… and convinces them to buy it sight unseen. Pretty impressive.
It reminds me of David Oreck who sold his vacuum cleaners through the mail with radio commercials. When he first came up with the idea to advertise a vacuum on the radio, people thought he was nuts.
Just because people are accustomed to going to a store to buy certain products, doesn’t mean you can’t get them to change their buying patterns. All it takes is smart marketing and a strong appeal.
OK, let’s see what makes the MyPillow ad such a great direct response ad…
Last week, when I reviewed the fishing lure ad, I mentioned if you have a strong guarantee, you might want to use it in the headline or subhead. Well, lookie here…
Guaranteed the Most Comfortable Pillow You’ll Ever Own!
Now even though the ad starts with a guarantee… it’s a weak guarantee. It’s too vague. The secret to a GREAT guarantee is to make it as specific as possible. For example, The Benjamin Hotel in New York City has this sleep guarantee:
“…We guarantee you’ll sleep just as well at The Benjamin as
you do at home, or we will give you a free night’s stay.”
Now that’s a guarantee with some teeth. It backs up the talk with an offer of a free night’s stay.
The MyPillow guarantee can be beefed up by saying something like:
Guaranteed the Most Comfortable Pillow You’ll Ever Own!
If Not, Simply Return It And Get Your Money Back…
PLUS We’ll Buy You The Pillow Of Your Choice!
But since this ad has been running in the Sunday New York Times nonstop for a few months now, the headline and guarantee are obviously working.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, or if you just hate your current pillow, this headline will catch your eye.
And it’s hard to miss the photo of the inventor of the MyPillow. It’s cute picture. And while cute usually doesn’t work in direct marketing… the dude just looks so happy with his pillow, it works in this case. We should all love our pillows this much.
And speaking of the photo… normally when you use a photo of a product, you want to show the product in use. However, In this case, showing someone sleeping on a pillow probably wouldn’t be eye-catching (well, unless she’s naked and has big hooters…). So to jazz it up, he puts himself in the photo, gently clutching the pillow. We should all be this happy with our pillows.
The photo also works because the copy starts with his personal story. He introduces himself as the Inventor of the pillow. And then tells his little story of how frustrated he was with other pillows. He even educates the reader about how typical pillows are designed to break down over time. There’s a little lesson in the ad.
An important part of this ad is the seven sleeping disorders this pillow helps relieve. So instead of just helping you sleep better, this pillow can also help “cure” ailments that have been affecting you.
Anyone who has one of these issues, automatically becomes more interested in this pillow. The idea is for one of these disorders to cause the reader to think, “Hey, that’s me. I’ve been having trouble with my neck and back for ages. Maybe this pillow will finally help me sleep better.”
So, all of a sudden, the pillow doesn’t just help you sleep better, it can potentially replace your medicines or doctor visits.
The ad then goes on to list the typical issues most people have with pillows. It’s easy for anyone to quickly identify with what Michael is talking about.
After he lists the issues with most pillows, he then gives a solution and shows how his pillow overcomes all these issues. This is a classic approach in direct response advertising: Describe the problem and show how your product solves it. It’s a simple formula to follow.
And the ad is very personal. It’s about HIS story and HIS quest for the best, most comfortable pillow. If you’re in need of a good night’s sleep, you’ll admire his passion and commitment to creating the ultimate pillow. You’re thinking something like: “Damn, this guy’s some sort of sleep uber-geek. He’s spent so much of his life on this pillow, it must be good.” And then you get your credit card out and buy the damn thing.
See, lots of companies offer pillows. Lots of pillow manufacturers claim to have superior products. But Michael gets personal. Shows you a real human is behind this pillow, not a faceless corporation. And that’s a major factor in making this ad a winner.
If you sell a run-of-the-mill consumer product, is there a story to tell, either about you or the product, that makes it so different and superior to the competition?
What details are you leaving out of your current advertising?
The MyPillow ad crams in everything from telling you is a member of the Better business Bureau, it’s product is made in the USA and that he’s sold hundreds of thousands of them (social proof). You never know what specific detail will connect with a consumer, so make sure you include as many facts and fascinations about your product as possible.
So today’s direct response copywriting lesson is…
…If you have a personal story you can use to sell your product or service, think about using it. You see, your competition will probably be able to say everyone about their product/service that you say about yours. But…
The one thing they won’t be able to claim, is your story. Your story is unique to you. And stories are especially powerful for entrepreneurs to use when going against established businesses.
Big, faceless corporations often depend on brand advertising or offering low prices. Unique stories, even if they’re a little corny, give the “little guy” a unique advantage to separate themselves from the competition.
And finally, if you’re going to use a guarantee. Make it as specific as you can possibly make it. Don’t just say, “Guaranteed.” by law, pretty much all products are guaranteed. Make your guarantee so enticing that the reader you’d be absolutely nuts to make such a powerful guarantee if you thought for one second the buyer would return your product.
Check out the MyPilow web site at: www.MyPillow.com.