Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Don Draper would be proud

This is my favorite advertising story.

So much of advertising is perception. Positioning yourself in the minds of the consumers.  And the rest is competition. It's not enough to be good, you have to either be better than your competition or make the consumer believe your competitor is bad.   Today there are so many products (not to mention political ads that are currently flooding the airwaves) and so many slogans that it’s hard for any one message to really hit home, but in Don Draper’s day when there were only three networks and three or four primary magazines a good slogan would have a greater impact.

Back in the ‘50s all canned tuna was pink. Then “Chicken of the Sea” came along with white tuna. It wasn’t selling. They tried to promote it as tasting like chicken (hence the name). The public wasn’t buying it. White tuna looked weird.

Along came Mad Men to the rescue. And this ingenious slogan:

“Chicken of the Sea” – guaranteed never to turn pink.

Within about a year pink tuna was completely off the market.

Now THAT’S advertising.

Ironically, "Chicken of the Sea" now also sells pink salmon.  I wonder if their campaign should be "Guaranteed never to turn white."  

36 comments :

VP81955 said...

Now I understand why Jessica Simpson was so confused.

Anonymous said...

Contrast with StarKist Tuna's ads, with a beatnik spokesfish- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_the_Tuna
(voiced by Herschel Bernardi)- longing to be netted and eaten

Matt said...

That anecdote was on The West Wing in slightly different form. “Guaranteed to never go pink in the can.”

Max said...

It reminds me of one of the best Draper lines ever, during one of the early Lucky Strike meetings: "THEIR tobacco is poison. YOURS is toasted!"

Joseph Scarbrough Puppet Productions said...

Tuna is much better in oil than water. Oil preserves the flavor, water doesn't.

Janet Ybarra said...

That is a great advertising story. One of the great unsung, really unappreciated advertising/marketing/image bamboozling jobs of recent decades has been the Republican party.

Think about it. Republican policy consistently favors the well-to-do and wealthy. Yet one one of their most loyal voting blocks, over the past 30-40 years has been non college educated (ie lower income).

So, essentially, Republican image makers get these folks to, time and again, vote the opposite of their basic economic interests.

Granted, the Republicans don't have a funny little guy like Charlie the Tuna, but that's the story.

Lansing said...

While a great anecdote, it's an urban legend. It was never a slogan for Chicken of the Sea or any other company:

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/think-unpink/

Mike Bloodworth said...

I agree. But, thanks to the anti-saturated-fat hysteria of previous decades the powers that be decided that America needed a "healthier" alternative. That almost makes up for all the mercury.
M.B.

Donald Benson said...

Some of my favorites:
-- "Designed in the USA" (but imported like nearly every competing product)
-- "Collectible" (printed throwaway included, or a "collectible" image printed on the packaging)
-- "Natural flavors" (something like orange juice concentrate mixed into an industrial witch's brew to create grape-flavored drink)
-- "Part of this nutritious breakfast" (i.e., a breakfast that's highly nutritious without the advertised cereal)
-- "The Party of Lincoln" (never mind that the party surrendered to Lincoln-hating Dixiecrats a few generations ago)

Mike Bloodworth said...

The best advertising gimmick to come along in quite awhile is "DOLPHIN SAFE," tuna. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they're trying to reduce collateral damage. There's no point in unnecessarily killing any animal. Yet, the big question is does it really sell more tuna? Or at least, did it stop a drop in sales? I know that animal rights groups decry T.V. shows that use animals and amusement parks that have animal acts. Yet if it wasn't for parks like SEA WORLD and shows like FLIPPER no one would care how many dolphins are killed for their tuna.
M.B.

Brian said...

My favorite tuna advertising slogan from a movie is "Tuna with a heart". Can anyone name the movie?

Pamela Atherton said...

I read that story in the book "Advertising Pure and Simple" by Hank Seiden. I bought the book at a thrift store, and now snap up every copy of it I can find. It's a brilliant book about advertising. And whether the story is true or not, it proves a very valid point -- it's all in how you present something. I learned so much from Seiden that I use every day with my clients. Thanks for sharing, Ken.

Janet Ybarra said...

Beware what seem like helpful TV commercials trying to "educate" you about some disease or condition you have, encouraging you "to learn more" and "talk to your doctor."

The latest are ads about endometriosis.

These ads just lay the groundwork for the big pharma giant running those ads to switch up and start advertising a new prescription medication for said ailment.

Janet Ybarra said...

Another one (designed specifically to skirt "buy American" laws and regulations) is "assembled in the USA."

This is done particularly by foreign aircraft makers who want to sell to the US military.

The aircraft are essentially made oversees and shipped over here where Americans do the final most basic slap together to get that "assembled in USA" stamp.

There is a distinction between assembled in USA and made in USA.

villagedianne said...

"Think about it. Republican policy consistently favors the well-to-do and wealthy. Yet one one of their most loyal voting blocks, over the past 30-40 years has been non college educated (ie lower income).

So, essentially, Republican image makers get these folks to, time and again, vote the opposite of their basic economic interests."

The above was once true. But many in the working class feel that the Democrats abandoned them and their concerns, especially regarding NAFTA. To quote Thomas Frank, the author of Listen, Liberal and What’s the Matter with Kansas:

“When the left party in a system severs its bonds to working people—when it dedicates itself to the concerns of a particular slice of high-achieving affluent people—issues of work and income inequality will inevitably fade from its list of concerns.”

It's been said that the Democrats thought the working class would remain with them because they essentially had nowhere else to go. Well, they did have somewhere else to go, and the rest is history.

Janet Ybarra1 said...

I would say Democrats still stand for working people in that who supports raising the minimum wage?

Larry Kudlow, President Dump's chief economic adviser, just announced that he hates the federal minimum wage.

Which party wants to protect people with pre-existing conditions?

Which party has (particularly through Bernie Sanders) proposed easing the way to a higher education?

Republicans have not supported these things.

Democrats still support the labor movement. Republicans want "right to work," ie union busting.

VP81955 said...

And up until the 1960s, blacks were a significant part of the GOP voting bloc ("the party of Lincoln" and all that), until Republicans took advantage of outrage over the civil rights movement to hop into bed with the backward South.

Astroboy said...

Brian said: My favorite tuna advertising slogan from a movie is "Tuna with a heart". Can anyone name the movie?

I'm thinking it was Mr. Mom.

Todd Everett said...

"pre-owned."
"It's new to me."
"Beverly Hills adjacent (or P.O.)"
"Valley Village"

Anonymous said...

"220, 221 - whatever it takes."

Co-starring Ken's old classmate, I believe!

- Matt in RI.

Buttermilk Sky said...

"Halitosis" was invented by an ad agency to sell more Listerine by making bad breath sound like a disease. Or so I've been told. In much the same way, "impotence" has become "erectile dysfunction," something to be cured instead of a natural consequence of age.
You never tell an American he shouldn't do something like eat spicy food -- you sell him a heartburn remedy instead.

YEKIMI said...

And Herschel Bernardi was also the "Ho, Ho, Ho" voice of the Jolly Green Giant. Which begs the question.....when he died, was he buried in a coffin shaped like a tuna can or flash frozen like a bag of peas?

VP81955 said...

True in the East, too. So much real estate in Mercer County, N.J., has a "Princeton" address or post office, even though a majority of it may be closer to Trenton than Princeton.

Earl Boebert said...

Recommended reading: "Confessions of an Advertising Man" by David Ogilvy; the chapter "How to Write Potent Copy" is a classic.

Halitosis was invented by Gerard Lambert, the head of Listerine. He was an amazing character: WWI spook, businessman, architect, mystery writer, yachtsman and PR genius. Though a rock-ribbed Republican, he donated his services to Roosevelt in the runup to WWII. In the depth of the depression he came out of retirement at the behest of the Boston establishment to save the Gillette company. His (hard to find) autobiography, "All Out of Step" says it all.

Mike Barer said...

But is it chicken or tuna? (kidding)

Peter Aparicio said...

Minimum wage goes up, prices go up. The net effect of a minimum wage hike for working-class people is . No one should try to support a family on minimum wage.

Becca said...

Now have tuna packed in olive oil.

Janet Ybarra said...

Benefits of the minimum wage.
Actually written by an old classmate of mine....
https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/09/29/poverty-prosperity-and-the-minimum-wage/benefits-of-minimum-wage-increases-seem-too-good-to-be-true-but-theyre-not

Todd Everett said...

Jolly Green Giant was voiced by Len Dresslar

ZackWheat said...

It's been said that the Democrats thought the working class would remain with them because they essentially had nowhere else to go. Well, they did have somewhere else to go, and the rest is history.

How's that working out for ya, (white) working-class people? If you want to vote for the other guys, you can also get used to crying to the other guys when things go wrong. Plant closed? Yeah, I bet that sucks. But at least you got to hear marginally less Spanish in the hardware store!

Coram_Loci said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MikeN said...

>supports raising the minimum wage?

Raising the minimum wage means less jobs, less hours worked, for lower skilled workers. You see it first with restaurants closing an hour early, or shutting down between lunch and dinner. They might close entirely.

Ken has even objected to minimum wage for his theater, which would be less of an issue the lower the minimum wage is.
He also occasionally posts about a restaurant or bookstore closing after being open for so long. It's much harder to run a business at $15 an hour minimum wage than $7 an hour.

The small cuts to illegal immigration, combined with tariff deals, has increased manufacturing jobs, and raised wages at the low end in many sectors.

The Left tends to complain about tariffs and immigration that it would make it harder for employers to find workers. This is the same effect as minimum wage!

RepubAnon said...

Has anyone ever marketed canned chicken as "Tuna of the Land"?

Todd Everett said...

It's much harder to run a business at $15 an hour minimum wage than $7 an hour.

Maybe you should try another business.

Johnny Walker said...

One of my favourite pointless advertising claims was when DVDs were hot items. Lots of them boldly claimed to have “interactive menus” as a Special Feature. I guess I’m being pedantic, but was there ever a DVD released that has had menus that you COULDNT interact with?! To me it was like a car claiming it had a “turntable steering wheel”.

Janet Ybarra said...

Clinton America continues to move forward economically while President Dump's America falls further behind...
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/11/18/are-trump-voters-better-off-than-they-were-two-years-ago-especially-compared-to-clinton-voters/?utm_term=.4c8dd20c972e