A Tale From the Storytelling Hall of Fame

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A while back, I created a free e-book: Hall of Fame Ads Reveal… 5 Storytelling Secrets to Help You Captivate Prospects and Inspire Them to Buy.

One of those Hall of Fame ads is one Listerine ran 100 years ago(!) that transformed the company from a small family-run outfit into a corporate giant.

You can grab the e-book by clicking the button below.

And you can read more about that Listerine ad by reading the story (pulled from my email archives) below…

When I was a kid, I remember my relatives talking about some Great Aunt I’d never met. They called her an “Old Maid.”

I had no idea what they were talking about, but I could tell they considered it an insult.

Years later, I learned the meaning: A woman who has — gasp! — never gotten married.

Today, countless women choose not to get married…

…and no one blinks.

But back in the day, being an Old Maid was cause for pity…

…or disgust.

I thought of poor, pitiful Great Auntie the other day when I reread an old Listerine ad from 1925 with this headline:

“Often a bridesmaid but never a bride”

Here’s some of the ad copy:

Edna’s case was really a pathetic one. Like every woman, her primary ambition was to marry. Most of the girls of her set were married — or about to be. Yet not one possessed more grace or charm or loveliness than she.

And as her birthdays crept gradually toward that tragic thirty-mark, marriage seemed farther from her life than ever.

She was often a bridesmaid but never a bride.

Then the kicker…

That’s the insidious thing about halitosis (unpleasant breath). You, yourself, rarely know when you have it. And even your closest friends won’t tell you…

That’s a brilliant ad.

Some of you may cringe and call this “fear-based” advertising (in fact some people refer to fear-based advertising as a “halitosis appeal.”)

But here’s the thing: Bad breath is a real thing. Fear of repelling a potential mate is a real thing. And Listerine offered a real solution.

If you want to connect with prospects, you have to meet them where they are (and then offer a real solution to their problem).

In 1921, Listerine rang $115,000 in sales. By 1927, 2+ years after launching its halitosis ads, annual sales had grown to $4 million. By 1930, Listerine was the country’s third-largest print advertiser.

The story of poor Edna sold A LOT of Listerine.

If you want to learn more about this and other Hall of Fame ads…

Don't go away yet..

p.s. Coaches, authors, and consultants hire me to power-up their creative content and storytelling to captivate prospects, stand-out and book more business.

Whenever you're ready, here are several ways I can help you become a storytelling stand-out so you'll land more clients without pitching and prodding:

1) Get the Story Power Profit Pack -- 52 Strategies, Tips, and Tactics  to Transform Your Content from Ignored to Adored.

2) Watch the free, 7-minute Micro-Training: “The 3 Most Important Storytelling Keys to Captivate Prospects and Inspire Them to Act -- Without Pitching and Prodding.”

3) Become a Story Power VIP: Master how to discover, assemble, and deliver business-building stories. Twice-monthly live masterclasses. Members-only content. One-on-one feedback and consulting sessions. And more… If you'd like to learn more about our VIP program, just reply to this email and put "Story Power VIP" in the subject line. I’ll contact you with more details.

4) Work with me one-on-one: If you’re interested in working directly with me -- to discover, assemble, and deliver powerful, business-building stories -- simply reply to this email and change the subject line to "Private Client." Tell me a little about yourself, your business, and what you'd like to accomplish, and I'll reply to discuss options.

5) Invite me to speak at an event: I can tailor a presentation that meets the specific needs of your organization. Informative. Entertaining. Virtual or live. Potential for continuing education credits when applicable for your group. If interested, reply to this email and change the subject line to “Speaking Engagement.” I’ll circle back to discuss the possibilities.

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.