Ad Personalities

Personality Tips

Car Inspections:

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: 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.

A customer and retail base that is more fragmented than


More fragmented media, with so many more ways to reach


An evolving price to value relationship. "People are

looking for high quality but at a lower price. Look at the


Speed of change. Companies need to react more quickly

to technology change than they used to.

A wider array of products than before.

"Consider ways to add personality to maintain your


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


says Thomas.

Top Of Page
Ad Personalities

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


sales programs.

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,"

instructs Steckel.

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."

Top Of Page
Personality Tips

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?

Habit-oriented people have a desire to keep most of the

features of their current lifestyle, while expecting to add several

new ones.

Sensible people, those that try to approach everything

in a sensible manner. "The major objective of this group is to

establish believability."

Bargain hunters. "The budget-conscious will give up

most of their desires if the price is right."

Impulse buyers, the easiest to sell. "They decide

primarily on physical appearance."

The Emotional type is a tougher sale. "They are more

concerned with what they think friends and family will say. The


of others is as important as their opinion."

New consumers, first buyers, usually younger. "Not

set in their ways with negative memories from past purchases, they

respond to the most appealing message."

For more tutelage on advertising tips, Mercer’s NJAWBO offers

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


Top Of Page
Car Inspections:

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


says Lamm.

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.

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