The Difference "Wow!" Makes

Here’s an example of the difference “Wow!” makes to any brand or product.

Typical Tactic:

A team asked for sponsorship for their drive in a brand new Toyota Land Cruiser from Kuala Lumpur to China on normal roads.

New Straits Times Cars Bikes Trucks editor, Yamin A. Vong declared, “It was daft. What was the challenge? Trying to get people to contribute to their holiday?” (“Pave the way for leading edge technology,” New Straits Times Cars Bikes Trucks Quarterly Review, Wednesday, p.2, 29 March 2006.)

“Wow!” Tactic:

A couple from England is trying to drive around the world – 29,000km by the standards of the Guiness Book of World Records – on less than 50 tanks of petrol in a standard car. If they can achieve it in 40 tank-loads, this will mean about 700km on a 45-litre tank. The car is a Volkswagen Golf FSI 1.6 and the petrol is a prototype Shell formulation that is scheduled to be launched worldwide over the next two years.

See how the typical tactic is so… typical? Didn’t your eyebrows rise when you read what a challenge and clever marketing idea Volkwagen and Shell embarked on?

Not only that, the tactic also sends a great, clear and compelling message: Rising fuel prices mean nothing to the highly fuel-efficient Volkswagen and the dollar-stretching Shell petrol.

The message is so compelling it almost demands action: buy Volkswagen and Shell petrol. It’s not just “Wow!” for Wow’s sake (which is where I feel many great advertising efforts tend to strive for). There’s no compelling message – nothing that moves me to action.

It’s like that Greek saying David Ogilvy made famous (and is my motto as a IncSights):

When Aeschines spoke, they said, “How well he speaks.” But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, “Let us march against Philip.”

Catching your attention and compelling you to action… now that’s the difference “Wow!” should make.


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