By the numbers.

More memorable and meaningful than puffery.

Headlines and sig lines (or strap lines) can be the most memorable part of ads. But all too often they're meaningless fluff. "Finest," "Best," "Most trusted," "Best value" and others of that vague ilk are verbal mush without any distinctive hook to aid recall. One tremendous mnemonic aid is to quantify the claim with a hard number. Consider these:

"This bread is very nutritious." or "Builds strong bodies 12 ways?" No contest which would be remembered. (The Wonder Bread slogan began as eight ways in the 1930s and grew to twelve ways in the 1950s.) As an aside, Wonder Bread built strong bodies by throwing a couple of vitamin enrichment tablets about the size of hockey pucks into the dough to replace nutrients removed in processing.

"This fine automobile is really quiet." or "At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in the new Rolls Royce comes from the electric clock," the 1958 Ogilvy classic.

How about: "We condense a lot of tomatoes to make our tomato paste," or "Who put eight, great tomatoes in that little bitty can?" Stan Freberg's wonderful radio jingle. The ending was a thing of beauty: "You know who. You know who. You know who." The jingle was followed with the spot's only spoken words: "In case you don't, it was Contadina." The final word was the only mention of the brand. That broke a lot of rules, but it got tremendous recall, and built the Contadina brand.

Orbachs, New York's recently closed bargain-priced department store, might have said "A tradition of bargain prices ever since our founding." Instead Doyle Dane Bernbach (now DDB) said "Our summer sale began Oct. 4, 1923."

When all Coca-Colas came is the distinctive six-ounce hour-glass shaped bottle, an upstart competitor came after them with a jingle built around a number:

Pepsi-Cola hits the spot,

Twelve full ounces, that's a lot.

Twice as much for a nickel, too.

Pepsi-Cola is the drink for you.

How 'bout:

"15 minutes could save you 15% or more." Two numbers that say a little time could save you a lot of money with Geico.

"Twice as much of the pain reliever doctors recommend most" (Anacin).

"99 44/100% Pure?" The slogan worked for Ivory from its beginnings in 1882.

"Rolaids consumes 47 times its weight in excess stomach acid."

"In Soviet Georgia, where they eat a lot of yogurt, a lot of people live past 100." Marsteller's classic Dannon campaign was way more effective than simply saying "Yogurt is good for you." And the commercials featuring Georgian centenarians were wonderful.

"Four out of five doctors surveyed recommended Trident sugarless gum for their patients who chew gum." The beginning of a hoary tradition of four-out-of-five doctor commercials.

"How can one calorie taste so good?" helped build the Tab brand.

"Eight out of ten cats prefer Whiskas" (although they don't ask for it by name).

The specificity of a number makes the claim more believable. After all, numbers don't lie, do they? It also makes the claim more memorable. A number has sticking power that simply isn't there in pure puffery.

Four out of five marketing directors agree.

To learn more about the impact of numbers, contact us by clicking here or by calling (865) 330-0033.


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