Book Of Days
Jim Rubart

James L. Rubart is the best-selling, and award winning author of ROOMS, BOOK OF DAYS, and THE CHAIR. During the day he runs Barefoot Marketing, helping authors make more coin of the realm. In his free time he dirt bikes, hikes, water skis and take photos. No, he doesn’t sleep much. He lives with his amazing wife and teenage sons in the Pacific Northwest and still thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman. More at Or e-mail him at:

Quantum Marketing

The Two Parts of Making an Ad Memorable

Do you remember any of the ads from this year’s Super Bowl?

When I asked myself that question, the first ad that popped into my cranium was the one with the kid who couldn’t find a bathroom to pee in so he ends up peeing in the pool.

Do you remember it too? If yes, you’ll have my admiration if you can tell me what kind of business the ad was for. If you can tell me the name of the company who ran the ad I’ll be eternally impressed.

No clue? You’re like most people, but it’s not your fault. It’s the fault of the company who allowed an ad agency to spend $3.5 million(!) to run an ad for a company no one would remember (not to mention the $100,000+ they spent on production of the ad).

The Good and the Bad

The good is that they designed a memorable ad. They shocked BROCA enough that two months later I imagine many people still remembered the ad. The bad is that viewers had no idea who the ad was for.

When we market ourselves, we must do two things:

1. Make ourselves stand out. As I’ve said multiple times: Do it differently. Do it uniquely. If all the other cows in the field are black and white, you need to be purple. (Thanks for the visual, Seth.)

2. Make our products (us or our novels or your store) central to the theme of the ad.

It stuns me how rarely marketers do this. One more Super Bowl example: I still remember an ad from over ten years ago, but I can’t tell you the company is unless I look it up: The Cat Herders.

This ad won numerous awards, including an Emmy Award nomination. Why? It nailed my first point. But failed miserably on my second, which makes me wonder why it was lauded as excellent advertising. (If you remember the ad, can you tell me who the company is who ran it?)

Call me whacky, but I’m of the opinion that to win an award, an ad must cause the viewers to remember the company it is advertising.

Do It Differently

So don’t do it like the big boys. Whether you’re working with your publisher, or you’re a bookstore working with your ad agency/media reps, or you’re working on marketing materials for yourself, make the merchandise the focus.

I promise it’ll make it a heck of a lot easier for your customers to make a purchase if they know what the product is.

(BTW, the companies in the two ads I mention are, respectively, and EDS―Electronic Data Systems, founded by H. Ross Perot.)


The Chair