What I learned about marketing from a talking horse.

 Mr. Ed, was a talking horse in the classic 1960"s television series.

A horse is a horse, of course, of course. Unless the horse is the famous Mister Ed!

From 1961 to 1966, the comical tales of Wilbur Post and his talking horse made for an unlikely sitcom success. Though it was never a ratings smash, the comedy kicked its way into the American consciousness. Who doesn't know that theme song?

It's been half a century since Mister Ed finished its original run.

 Mr. Ed was famous for saying, You should never speak unless you have something to say.”

 AP photo 

AP photo 

He was one smart horse, folks. In fact, from a promotional marketing perspective, his advice is often overlooked by many businesses.

What did I learn from Mr. Ed? This one vital point. After identifying your target audience or group, don’t just “wing it” when it comes to your promotional message. Decide what you want to say! 

 Take the time to create a strong, effective and compelling marketing message or statement right on the promotional product or other tangible advertising online or offline space you are spending your hard earned marketing dollars to purchase. 

Never speak unless you have something to say.
— Mr. Ed, The Talking Horse

 

When imprinting or branding a promotional product, business gift, or advertising specialty product, some businesses print or engrave their logo only on that product. This can be a waste of valuable marketing “real estate” and a missed marketing opportunity. Not always, but many times. For example,  a coffee mug can be imprinted as a “wrap around” design giving you room for a full-color process photo of your product or service. Don't just slap your logo on the product. If at all possible, add another layer of marketing message.

 Full-color sublimation mugs for Colgate toothpaste product boasts the marketing message "The freshest air on earth" with wrap around imaging utilizing a large overall imprint area.

Full-color sublimation mugs for Colgate toothpaste product boasts the marketing message "The freshest air on earth" with wrap around imaging utilizing a large overall imprint area.

 

Consider using your maximum imprint area without being cheesy. Granted, not all imprint areas are large enough to accommodate a lengthy tagline. And the type of promotional product you choose may not warrant detailed graphics like the one pictured above for Colgate's new product launch. But, as you think your promotion through, consider including a strong benefit statement or call to action on the product itself.  Ask yourself such questions as:

  • Who is receiving the promotional or gift item?
  • What would I like the recipient to know about my business or service?
  • If promoting a new product, what are the benefits/product details and how can I draw attention to them? 
  • What is the branding objective of this promo item?

 At the very least, imprint your website address underneath your logo if you can. It generally doesn’t cost any more if you imprint in the same color as your logo or graphic image. It can improve your results dramatically. By adding that one line (tagline, message, or benefit statement), you are informing the target group what you want them to know about your company.

Sometimes, the only purpose (although important) for a promotional product or gift is to reinforce brand awareness using a company logo or color. In that situation remain consistent with your branding design guidelines. 

 

So, Follow Mr. Ed’s Advice and never speak unless you have something to say.