Corrections or additions?
These articles by Barbara Fox and Peter J. Mladineo were published in
U.S. 1 Newspaper on August 26, 1998. All rights reserved.
For Retailers, a Marketing Spin
A small box arrives, pocked with holes in the top, with
straw hanging out the sides. It is labeled "Caution: live
open with care!" and of course it causes a great stir in the
Could it be? Could there really be a chameleon inside?
Inside that box only a card rests on the bed of straw. "Oh-No!
YOU let it get away! And on the reverse, "Don’t let great ideas
get away too! Call this number. . . "
The firm is called Chameleon Marketing Inc. (how did you guess?) and
the box is its own fun marketing tool. Daniel P. T. Thomas,
the president, has been in marketing communications for 23 years and
has had this business for two years at 947 State Road (609-921-6588;
E-mail: email@example.com.) To advertising, sales
direct marketing, communications agency, he says he is bringing a
new spin, an emphasis on personality.
"Retailers have to ask themselves," says Thomas, if they are
to be distributors of nationally branded products or if they are going
to be differentiated by themselves, to have a certain feel or look
about the store."
Thomas says he ties brand-building together with the need for
sales. "To build a brand means to create ownership in the
mind," says Thomas, who refers to the new singing slogan "Come
see the lighter side of Sears" intended to make the shopping
more fun. Sears accompanied that with a major store reorganization.
From his experience with marketing retailers in both the United
and the United States, he presents five challenges for the retail
industry. Deal with these and you will succeed, he promises.
looking for high quality but at a lower price. Look at the
to technology change than they used to.
he says. His firm has been working with food retailers and banks,
including two commercial banks that have their headquarters in
"Banking is an area where personality can be more a part of the
equation — banks trying to be perceived as up-to-date and more
neighborhood-like — but where technology is a big part of the
challenge," he says.
Thomas was an Army brat, the British version, and he began to assert
his own personality when he declined to follow in the footsteps of
his father, who served as the Queen’s Chaplain. (Among his teenage
memories were sitting behind the Queen and Princess Diana in the pew
behind the Royal Pew.) Instead going to the British military academy
at Sandhurst, he went off on his own to London, and found a job at
Ketcham Advertising. He put himself through college via night school.
At a London pub he met a Princeton native who was working for Lloyds
of London, and they married and moved to Princeton five years ago.
As a vice president at QLM Marketing, he created campaigns for the
Discovery Channel, Hefty Bags, and Scott Paper.
Older and wiser and a father now himself, Thomas still takes an
approach to marketing — brainstorming in weird locations, using
a creative ideas database that has taken two years to put together,
and drawing upon creative thinking techniques. "We push back
It is important, indeed, to realize that all ads have
a personality, and that the buyer purchases this personality over
the actual message, says Robert Steckel of the United States
Institute of Marketing. Most everybody knows that professional and
carefully designed ads spend 20 percent of the total ad cost to
80 percent of the responses. But how to be among the 20 percent? For
more than 50 years he has been compiling "Best of" books on
everything from outstanding airline advertising to successful
The Pittsburgh-based firm sells these inch-thick spiral-bound volumes
for from $235 ("Outstanding Retail Advertising") to $485
Marketing for the 21st Century"). (Call 412-828-2720 or
800-627-5384; fax, 412-828-2734. The firm is located at 531 Fifth
Street, Oakmont PA 15139.) By paging through one of them,
such as "High Response Newspaper Advertising," you can get
all kinds of good ideas. See a great ad for your industry? Clone it,
change a little, and away you go.
But Steckel insists that though his books are full of good ideas,
unlike clip art books, they are based on valuable research. "An
awful lot of research goes in to which ads we include," says
Advertising professionals may take a jaundiced view of a research
claim that publishes none of the difficult-to-find hard numbers, no
statistics of how a particular ad has increased sales.
Steckel declines to delineate his research process in complete detail,
but he does say that the 25-person firm subscribes to 600 Sunday
and investigates volume and sales records. "There are different
ways to find out which ads are producing the highest revenue. We are
not interested in what they look like, but in how they draw,"
he says. Sometimes the research can consist of querying the company
involved, "but we will have companies that want to get their ad
in the book, and so we have to cross check."
Steckel claims 40,000 customers in 134 countries. Ad agencies
are among the book’s chief markets. They want to see what’s going
in the business, and they want to use other agencies’ creative
when they make client presentations.
Advertisers in other countries — for instance Malaysia, New
and Mauritania — also crave to know what the hotshot Americans
are up to. Steckel says he gets hundreds of letters from companies
that succeed by imitating the American ads.
Most of the book consists of examples, not long-winded explanations,
but the preface has some useful tips. "Like it or not, all
ads follow a proven format with four elements — the headline,
illustration, copy, and finally all three put together, the
Readers notice the illustration first; it stops the reader long enough
for the headline to do its job. Actually, any caption under an
will get read even before the headline. "Four out of five people
glance at the illustration and the headline only, not motivated
to read the body copy."
The illustration, then, should tell as much of the selling idea as
possible. Use scenes of people arriving, not departing. If you are
aiming at an older woman, use pictures of a woman 10 to 15 years
A single large horizontal picture at the top of an ad has the greatest
response rating. A tight close-up of a face or any object will make
the ad look larger, increasing readership.
The most effective headlines contain these words: how, where, free,
who else, what, which, why, and when. The claim and boast variety
is old-fashioned. Use a natural conversational vocabulary and short
simple words. Thus the illustration, caption, and headline should
create a unified basic impression.
Examples carry the weight of this book. In the banking section, one
example shows that children get more attention than any other
It shows twins with the headline "At First Republic, You Get What
you Expect, and More!" For selling the convenience of online
it uses the Dollar Bank’s headline, "And start banking online.
Not in line." For the grocery area, a Publix ad touts store brands
with the headline "Read It and Reap" and a color picture of
the label from a green bean can. "One item at a time, reporting
all the information that counts, generates trust and confidence,"
Steckel grew up in Pittsburgh, was national sales manager for Look
magazine, started his company in Washington, D.C., and moved it back
to Pittsburgh, where his son Jim is also in the business.
He knows how to copy well. When he opened his business, he leafed
through some books, saw a picture of the Lincoln Memorial, and ever
since then has used a sketch of that facade on his letterhead. Steckel
says he has no competitors, except for a magazine in Philadelphia
that fizzled five years ago. He gives a money-back guarantee with
each shipment and refunds one out of 33 orders. But don’t try to copy
his book and send it back. "We put a dot of silver nitrite in
some places, and it turns back on the page."
Consider your buyer’s personality, says Robert
to target your ad. "You cannot judge an ad by what you are
in," he says. "No one cares if it appeals to you, only if
it appeals to the reader.
With that in mind, which of the six buyer patterns do you fall into?
Are you really are drawn to ads "written" for you?
features of their current lifestyle, while expecting to add several
in a sensible manner. "The major objective of this group is to
most of their desires if the price is right."
primarily on physical appearance."
concerned with what they think friends and family will say. The
of others is as important as their opinion."
set in their ways with negative memories from past purchases, they
respond to the most appealing message."
a session Tuesday, September 15, at 6 p.m. at the Palmer Inn. The
subject: "Getting the Most Bang for Your Advertising Buck,"
with advertising salesperson Diana Joseph-Riley from U.S. 1
newspaper and other experts from Nassau Broadcasting and CTN Cable.
For $29 reservations call 609-799-1779.
Or on Wednesday, September 16, at 7:45 a.m. at the Holiday Inn on
Route 1 South, learn "Marketing and Promotional Techniques to
Enhance Visibility of Small Business" at a Princeton Chamber
Speakers are Gail D. Eagle, Gail Eagle Associates Custom
Ed Marder, vice president of Inkwell; and Steven Portrude,
vice president of Harwill-Express Press. For $21 reservations call
New, Two-Year Deal
The automobile inspection laws are changing to
the construction of a biennial enhanced inspection system, and
October 1, a lot of cars will be off the hook.
At least initially. From October 1 through December 31, only vehicles
made in even-number years will be required to be inspected in the
month they are due. Odd-number cars won’t need to wait in line until
that time next year. However, because the stickers themselves will
be outdated, they are advised to obtain special extension stickers
from Division of Motor Vehicles offices or from private inspection
centers to avoid being pulled over by police.
Starting January 1, 1999, all odd-number cars are required to inspect
in the month they are due. In this period, owners of even number cars
due for inspection between January and September are now off the hook
and will have extension stickers mailed to them. Cars passing the
tests will be given two-year stickers.
September is a phase-in month. All vehicles due for inspection in
September, 1998, will be required to pass through the inspection
However, odd-number cars will be given one-year stickers, while
cars will be given two-year stickers.
The colors of the stickers will change as well. Two-year stickers
given out in 1998 are orange. The ones given in 1999 will be purple
— a first for New Jersey.
The DMV is doing this in anticipation of lane closures necessary to
build enhanced emission lanes and the fact that the new tests will
take significantly longer per car to perform. The current test takes
approximately two minutes per vehicle.
That’s roughly 26 to 28 cars an hour, says Jeff Lamm, spokesman
for the Division of Motor Vehicles. The enhanced test uses a
a device that monitors emissions during simulated road acceleration,
takes five minutes per vehicle on average. However, Lamm reminds us,
the number of vehicles going any given year is being cut in half by
the two-year sticker. Also, the number of lanes in the central
will be increased under the contract proposal. The firm contracted
to build the system, the Pasadena, California-based firm Parsons
and Technology Group, plans to have 100 lanes finished at central
testing locations (like Bakers Basin) by December, 1999. Currently
there are 86 inspection lanes.
The option will still be given to have the test done at private
stations, but the number of those is expected to go down. The reason,
suggests Lamm, is that the equipment to perform the enhanced test
is significantly more expensive ($35,000 to $40,000). While there
were 3,700 licenses awarded to perform the existing test, he reports,
only 2,700 of those test centers had applied for a license to perform
enhanced inspections. The deadline was June 30. "It came down
to an economic decision for many of these private inspection
And finally, as the number of days until the new millennium has just
passed under the 500 mark, Lamm reports that the computers involved
in the new system are Y2K-compliant.
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.