Skillo Marketing and Advertising  © All rights reserved.
416 709-1640

The words you hear in an ad can trigger a vivid image in your mind. Think about every word you write.


An entrepreneur jumps out of an airplane then figures out how to build a parachute on the way down.





416 709-1640

As a Carnie I know lots of examples where the carnie business isthe same as the retailer business. For instance, a retailer who writes his own radio commercials is missing what an experienced writer can do.

Let me give you a carnie marketing example. I have a great carnival game called EXTRAVACANZA that I invented.  It involves picking up Coke cans with a magnetic “fishing pole” just like a kids fishpond game. One day at the fair a competitor came to me when the game was jammed with players and asked if he could set up the same game at a local county fair.  I said go ahead.  And he did, without  another question. My competitors “knock off” failed and he stopped operating  it just a week after launching it.
That’s because the questions he didn’t ask me doomed the game – the most critical being “Do I need to use Coke cans or can I use another type of can?”
There are two answers I would have given him to guarantee his game’s success.

First, he didn’t have to use Coke cans.  But he did need cans that were made of steel rather than aluminium so the magnetic fishing poles could pick them up. Duh!
Second, you didn’t need Coke Cola cans per se but the idea of such a huge brand appearing in a carnival game, and the 1970’s style of the cans made them an irresistible curiosity – a draw. He missed at lot of other basics I won’t get into here.

So in marketing, whether it’s writing your own
commercials or designing your own ads, if you don’t have someone on your team who knows which Coke cans to use, you have minimal chance at success, at best.

So you still don’t think advertising works,that it won’t help your business, that it’s a waste of money?  Well let me tell you a quick story about my recent Kijiji experience and then you tell me if you still don’ tthink advertising works. I had in my possession an inexpensive red guitar.  It was more of a novelty item than a serious guitar but it did play fine and looked cool; no, more than cool, it was unique. I never learned how to play well despite owning many guitars throughout my life.  But this red one was just collecting dust so I figured I would Kijiji it.  Now, even though I’m a marketing guy, I completely ignored every rule and every bit of marketing knowledge it had taken me a lifetime to learn. My ad was careful to point out that this wasn’t a high quality instrument.  I went out of my way to say that it was more of a novelty item or a fun thing than a serious guitar.  I probably had ten anti-selling words in a 30-word ad all intended to not give the wrong impression about the guitar. After about 3 weeks of no response I had all but forgotten about the dumb ad.  

Then one day I was checking out my other Kijiji ads and remembered that my guitar ad was still up.  For some reason though, when I read the ad again I thought that it sucked big time.  I thought, who the heck would buy this guitar based on my ad? So I re wrote the ad as follows: HEADLINE: RED GUITAR FOR PEOPLE WITHOUT RED GUITARS.
COPY:  This cool red guitar would make a great gift for someone without a red guitar.  It’s cooler than Angry Birds, more fun than a barrel of fish.  What’s not to like?  Go Red this Christmas.

Ya, I know, it sounds goofy, written by a disturbed person and would never pass an agency strategy test. But it worked!  I received 13 emails about it within eight hours of posting. The first email said they called purely based on the “hilarity” of the ad.  That person came the next day to pick it up. Now tell me that advertising doesn’t work!