Snake Venom & How Good Advertising Works -Part 1

Dear Students,
In an article in the Houston Chronicle, this story is told of a man poisoned by a rattlesnake that didn’t bite him:

Even a dead rattlesnake can hurt you. Just ask Trey Hanover of College Station.

On Labor Day weekend, Hanover and his father, Tommy Hanover, were working on their deer lease when they killed a big rattler. They shot the snake’s head off with a shotgun and loaded the carcass in the truck to show other hunters on their lease that they needed to be careful.

“We hung the snake on the fence at the camphouse,” Tommy Hanover said. “When we got ready to leave, Trey picked up the snake and threw it out in the pasture for the buzzards to eat.”

By the time he’d driven to College Station, Trey Hanover’s eyes were very irritated. By the next morning, his eyes were swollen shut. The doctor who examined Hanover said it looked like he’d suffered a chemical burn.

It took them a while to figure out that the shotgun load that vaporized the rattlesnake’s head splattered the snake’s venom over its body.

When Hanover handled the snake, he got the venom on his hands and later rubbed it in his eyes, made itchy by dust and ragweed. Sixteen days later, the vision in his right eye was back to normal. His left eye was still a little cloudy, but the doctor thought it would return to normal as well.

“We learned a valuable lesson about handling rattlesnakes — even dead ones,” said Tommy Hanover.

People know way too much about ads to let themselves be directly affected by one.
Same way cowboys know too much about rattlesnakes to let themselves get bit by them.

The human heart is closed to marketers who want to bully it.
The number of thoughts we’re willing to hold in our crowded minds about products/services we might buy or accept as part of our lives is incredibly small.
How many of the obvious & banal propositions made to us daily on TV find a home in your mind?

If all the ad you’re writing is aiming at is a direct bite on who walks by, what you’re writing is a bad ad.
Or, more indelicately, you’re writing crap.
Something the audience sees coming a mile away and finds no problem ignoring.
At best they pay it the compliment of disregarding it with a flick of anger as it goes by. Resentment that it took up time they can’t get back.

Sublime and wonderful advertising hits people without them knowing it.
Great, life-changing advertising doesn’t waste time shouting at a closed ear.
It tickles it open, slips in a thought like a depth-bomb, and is two blocks away before it explodes.

The kind of ads that made you want to get into this business, students, don’t work obvious, like a snake, they work secret like venom.
Just getting some of it on your hands can be deadly.

How to make ads like this?
Next time.