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The Power of your Marketing Message

Have you ever heard people bad mouth marketing? Saying it doesn’t work. It’s not a science. It’s ineffective, etc. etc. Here’s an exercise you can do yourself or have your unbelieving friend do to settle this once and for all.

First of all, the credit goes to the late marketing genius Gary Halbert for this idea. I couldn’t find it in any of his online material so I’m going to give it to you like I remember. (Warning, gets kind of graphic, but that’s the point.)

You will need the following material: 2 white envelopes, two pieces of clean, crisp white paper, two 41 cent stamps and a ball point pen.

Take out the first sheet of paper the write the following letter:

Dear Mother,

Your mean the world to me. I am so lucky that I am your son/daughter. The world means a lot to me because you are my mother and are a blessing to me. You have raised me and nurtured me and now I have turned out to be a great success.

You deserve all the credit, thank you!

Your loving son/daughter,

(Your signature)

Now, write the second letter:

Dear Mother,

Don’t bother responding to this letter as it’s the last communication that I want with you. Ever since I was born my life has been a curse because of you. Everything bad that has occurred in my life somehow finds its way back to you. Please forget that you even have a son/daughter.

(Your signature)

Now, put the letters into the envelopes, address it to your mother, and you probably don’t want to send the second one.

What’s the point?

Everything (the envelope, writing, paper color and size) being equal, the “marketing” message is the only thing that is different here, but it will trigger significantly different reactions from the recipient of this message. The recipient of this message will not only have a different psychological experience, but their biological experience will be different too.

When marketing is done properly, it will target the right people, with the right message at the right time and it will generate the response that you are looking for. Just as the letters would have produced totally different responses, so should your marketing.

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7 responses to “The Power of your Marketing Message”

Mehul Patel
June 15, 2007 at 6:36 am


Results are mind boggling Happy Dent was just introduced in Indian market and its already a Big hit, everyone wants shiny teeth!

creativity is just too good!

The entire set to shoot the ad was made on the outskirts of Bombay city…

Andre Nosalsky
June 14, 2007 at 11:17 am

Rik, I agree that you can’t market junk and that the product has to work.

Mehul, nice ad, I think it conveys the message, any idea on the results that it produced?

Mehul Patel
June 14, 2007 at 10:04 am

Talking abt great examples of marketing / ads has anyone seen the Happydent White gum TVC

This was made in India by a Indian Creative guy and t won awards from all over the world including cannes watch it now:

Noah you to go see it

Mehul Patel
June 14, 2007 at 10:00 am

nice, simple and good

June 14, 2007 at 8:43 am

Ok, first I want to point out that I really hate it when people define marketing in terms of messages and such. Marketing begins with creating a great product or service. Something that people want.

Other than that, you make an interesting point. But. If you look at it from my perspective, you’d argue that you’re actually not changing the ‘marketing message’ but the product. One’s a love letter, one’s a hate letter. Apart from the fact that they’re both words on paper, i’d say they’re quite different.
Apple’s (your example 😉 ) secret isn’t only in its cool tone of voice, but in the fact that they have ‘something cool to tell’ as well. Which in your case would make ‘something cool to tell’ (your product): ‘mom I love you’ and your marketing message would be using a paper in your mom’s favourite color.

To respond to your question: Great ad, very nicely targeted.

Vijay Teach Me
June 14, 2007 at 8:02 am

Very emotional marketing experience. Just came to think of a famous quote.
“It is not what you said, but how you said.”
In this example what you said makes all the difference.

Noah Everett
June 14, 2007 at 7:49 am

The AXE body spray commercials. I’m not gonna lie…I bought some.

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