Michael Cassman

Set Your Ad Apart – Be BRUTALLY Honest

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Tuesday, 7:51 pm
West of Langford Cove, TN

Hi there.

The age of communication has made it possible for almost endless advertising opportunities. Nowadays, practically every waking moment for the average person in the first world is an advertising opportunity thanks to the incredible connectivity offered by smartphones, tablets and ubiquitous internet.

If you’re anything like me, your phone, email inbox and social profiles are bursting with ads from every which way… And I’ll say, 99% of it is junk.

Here’s a hint: your target market is the same way…

That means your potential customer is constantly and relentlessly pummeled by cheap and annoying advertising that makes him understandably and rightfully skeptical of advertising in general.

There are a number of reasons why the average man is increasingly numbed and inoculated against advertising, (even good advertising), which I’ll explain in detail in a later post.

But for the purposes of this post, we’ll focus on one of the lesser-known causes.

Your potential customer assumes you’re not telling the truth.

Maybe he doesn’t go so far as to call you a two-faced liar. But he almost certainly assumes that you’re exaggerating your qualities and hiding your faults. He almost certainly reads your pitch with a critical and suspicious eye, at the very least assuming everything isn’t as good as you make it sound. “At the end of the day,” he might well think, “you’re just trying to get my money and run.”

Unfortunately, it’s not an unreasonable expectation as many low-life scammers and phony advertisers are happy to mistreat their fellow man that way. Thanks to the actions of said scumbag “advertisers”, good and wholesome advertising has yet another obstacle to hurdle.

You have to prove that you’re for real, that you’re not a two-faced lying phony like most advertisers out there.

But how can you prove that?

Here’s one way…

Take a look at this tiny ad from the early 1900s used by the famous Sir Ernest Shackleton who led the first human expedition to the South Pole. Pay attention to the simplicity, brevity and fantastic honesty of the words.


for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger.
Safe return doubtful, honor and recognition in event of success.

Ernest Shackleton 4 Burlington st.

This tiny ad allowed Shackleton to fill up his entire crew to go on a perilous and possibly deadly journey to the extremities of the world. All he had to do was be upfront and honest about the facts. And his audience showed up…

Imagine if instead of the frankness he chose, he took a more typical approach that many advertisers might prefer:


for exciting sailing trip, boundless adventure, glory, honor and riches upon return…

etc, etc…

The first ad immediately alienated everyone Shackelton was not targeting, and immediately appealed to exactly the kind of men Shackelton needed for the expedition.

The second ad, even though it was written to try to appeal to as many people as possible, probably would not have appealed to the kind of men Shackelton needed for the job. Additionally, the ad would have appealed to the wrong kind of person who, upon closer inspection of the requirements of the journey, would immediately dismiss the whole thing and feel rightfully misled and deceived.

Describing the Shackleton expedition as “a sailing trip” might not be a lie, but if you advertise it as such, you’ll rightfully get some dirt in your eye.

This small example clearly demonstrates the power of being brutally honest in your advertising. Whether for good or bad aspects of your product or service.

Don’t be tricky or deceptive, admit a flaw or two and then turn them into strengths, (more on that in another post). You want your prospect to think, “I can trust this guy. He’s a straight shooter. He’s the kind of guy I can deal with.”

If you can create an aura of frankness, transparency and genuineness, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of even stronger competitors who lack the simple elements of good salesmanship.

Now go out there and be a force of positive change.


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