I'm on my way under San Francisco Bay, on BART, and staring at a poster inside the train car. I have no idea what it's about. Maybe you can help.
The poster says "Save 20% on your first order. Free 1 - 2 day delivery." Then the logo: SOAP.com. That's all.
Maybe they're talking to their present customers. No, it says "on your first order". I guess I could be interested if I knew what they do, but I don't. Do they sell soap? Just soap? All kinds of soap, liquid, powder, and bars? How much soap can a person use?
Is there anything in the poster to encourage me to find out more? Nope. Just a picture of a splash of water. Makes sense when you're selling to people who use soap. I can't imagine one person on this train saying "I can't wait to get to my computer so I can order more soap. It's 20% off, you know!"
Why do advertisers do this to themselves? Why can't they put themselves in their customers' shoes and figure out how to get them to their Web site?
One of the first lessons that was pounded into me as a young copywriter was to ask, "Is it interesting to the customer?" Fail on this one and you fail everything.
Very few people on this train are reading something. One is dozing. The rest are looking around. I'm sure they've seen the SOAP.com poster and are sure they don't need to place an order.
Oh, look! On the back of the train there's another poster for the same company. It says "From floor wax to bikini wax at prices that aren't a rip off". Good to know. No just soap. Also wax.
Sometimes marketers get a little too close to their products and forget that the world is not about soap, floor wax, or bikini wax. The world is about people.
People who rather think their own thoughts than try to figure out what you do.