Baseline – Say less to impress

Look, the positioning is a slam dunk.

Look, the positioning is a slam dunk.

Fact: The product is 23% lower in polyunsaturated fats (or perhaps she said monounsaturated fats? Or was it monosaturated fats? Make a note to check the notes!)

Fact: It contains healthy Omega, ah, somethings. Ones? Fives? Threes? Whatever. Check that too.

So don’t get all ‘creative.’ Just do a spot that states the simple damn truth. I’ll be at the pool if you need me.

How many times, Dear God, do we have to go through this?

If we only tell people THE TRUTH about our product, and how hard we have worked, and how noble our intentions are, and how much we need their money and support and money, they will smarten the hell up and buy our product forever. Amen.

Alas, as it was then, as it is now, and as it shall be forever more, the truth shall not out. Why?

If people bought what was good for them, nobody would have bought cigarettes since 1962. Nobody would drive an SUV. Or drink a cola. Or eat a doughnut.

If you did what other people said was good for you, you would do what Mom told you to. Every day. Always.

Nobody remembers nothin’. The short-term memory dumps 85% of its contents every 36 hours.

Instead of facts, people retain vague impressions. Hunches. Hints. Superstitions. Misinformation – like Fords rust.

HubbaBubba is made from spider eggs. Steel radials are stronger than Fiberglas radials. Canada’s Medical System is the Envy of the World.

Even if they could retain so-called facts, facts change all the time. Sugar is energy food. Whoops! Sugar will kill you. Aspartame is good. Whoops! Aspartame is toxic. Sugar is good again. Fat people die first. Whoops! Fat people die last. The Atkins Diet will save your life. Whoops! The Atkins Diet will kill you. And red wine? Fuggeddabouddit.

Thus, many among the very few successful advertising campaigns invite people to make their own decisions about what products do and do not do.

Michelin said Because so much is riding on your tires. Decode: Whatever worries you about tires, Michelin has fixed it.

Sunoco said Highest octane on the street. Decode: Whatever the hell you think octane does, Sunoco does more of it better.

Avis said We’re only #2. We try harder. Decode: Whatever pisses you off about Hertz, Avis will piss you off less.

American Express said Don’t leave home without it. Decode: Whatever you fear will void your credit in some Godforsaken Hell Hole, American Express is less likely to void it.

Seiko said Someday all watches will be made this way. Decode: Whatever you’ll want a state-of-the-art watch to do in the future, Seiko does it now.

New York State said I love New York. Decode: If you are so hip that you can say I love New York after whatever dreadful shit you have heard about it, you are One Hell of a Man, Buddy!

President’s Choice Cola branded their cola with fine art images of Napoleon, David, Adam and God. Decode: Whoa! Whatever you want in a cola, this cola is a goddamn masterpiece of a cola!

Kids, advertising is information presented in a way that invites people to make decisions.

Perhaps it is better to let people decide for themselves what decision they want to make.

Hey, why butt in?

Only a suggestion.


Barry Base is president and CD of Barry Base & Partners, Toronto. He clawed his way up through four major ad agencies and founded his own firm when still a small child. See highlights of his career to date on an egomaniacal Web site at