Today I’d like to share an example of an effective “direct response” ad that has appeared in the print edition Wall Street Journal
unchanged for the last 5 years.
Usually this means that whoever is running it is making money—no one runs a national edition ad for that long if they are losing money! As they say in Direct Response marketing, it ‘pulls’ really well.
While the ad itself looks “amateurish” and perhaps even ugly (who knows, maybe this is by design) I believe it works because of the story they tell.
The story of Mr. Daswami, the master-tailor from Hong Kong who takes over hotel suites in the US every 2 months. Here is a picture of the ad (and below are some text excerpts) “Every dedicated suit-wearer knows that Hong Kong’s master tailors have an enviable reputation for quality, efficiency and price. The only not-inconsiderate snag is that they are ordinarily in Hong Kong whereas most of us are ordinarily not. Seekers after the finest Hong Kong tailoring need not worry any longer. Mr Raja M Daswami, master craftsman and Hong Kong’s finest and most respected bespoke tailor, now travels to the US every two months” On each visit, Team Daswami takes over hotel suites in all of the US’s major cities, so any of us can make an appointment and get the full Hong Kong Monty practically without jet setting to the far-east. The measurements are done by Mr. Raja and his men here and mailed to Hong Kong along with a series of digital photos of you from every angle. Often, your suit will be started on by a tailor 8,500 miles away before you’ve even left the hotel.
It is often said that American clothing chains have much to fear from Mr. Daswami. His dedication to bespoke suiting borders on the fanatical. And his company’s quality and pricing are truly shocking—in the pleasantest possible way for customers.
I rarely wear suits (the last time I wore one was 15 years ago at my sister’s wedding) but this ad intrigued me enough to want to try the bespoke suiting experience and meet this world renown Mr. Daswami.
Unfortunately, the experience was underwhelming. First, it wasn't Mr. Daswani himself but one of his many employees. This employee was also rather rude:
Below is an excerpt of our conversation:
-------------- Him: do you want single breasted or double breasted?
Me: I don't know. What is in fashion?
Him: Do you want cuffs and pleats?
Me: I don't know, what do you recommend?
Him: Don't you ever wear pants? You don't know a lot of things.
Me: Actually, I do know a lot of things :) I am just not knowledgeable about fashion. Why are you lecturing me like a school boy? Your tone is rude. Is this how you treat someone who is buying your best suit? I can leave right now.
Him: I need to be strict on you because these are custom suits (explaining that customers sometimes complain about the options they got)
Me: No, you don't need to be strict on me, you are not my school principal. You need to learn some customer service skills.
(He offers a half-apology)
Him: One of your hands is shorter than the other. They are of unequal length.
(God can’t help him from killing a sale!)
Me: My arms are fine. I think your tape measure has a problem :)
A bad customer experience but the lesson still applies. Any time you can tell an intriguing story in your marketing, you should.
We did it for Protalus to great effect (The Anatomy of a $97 Million Page
). We told the story of 75 year old Ms. Senior America and How She Finally Got Lasting Pain Relief—Risk Free and at an 87% Discount.
And almost every time we have used some form of story, we have seen dramatic revenue gains.
One of our current clients has a founder with a powerful personal story—a personal tragedy that led him to founding the company. It is the classic “Hero’s Journey”
recognized by Joseph Campbell that practically every society and tribe in history has, and that resonates universally.
As a large public company, they perhaps feel they need to be “professional” or "serious" and avoid sappy stories, but we believe it is one of their most powerful assets and we are testing a landing page that includes it.
The most successful direct response campaign of recent times is The Tale of Two Young Men
, that sold $2 billion worth of Wall Street Journal
subscriptions. It was also their control for 28 years—nothing they tested against it during that period ‘pulled’ better! Image credit: Swiped.co
Telling stories can be very profitable in direct response marketing (of which Landing Page Optimization is a modern descendant).