The Power of Real

by Ideaium
in Blog
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Yesterday, a good buddy of mine Shawn made me sit down and watch a movie that he simply could not believe I had never seen. Crazy People starring Dudley Moore and Daryl Hannah. Yeah, its old. Released in 1990.

Shawn has been continuously harassing me to watch this film for months because he knew I would love it. The entire premise of the movie of fantastic. Someone decided to screw the hell of a New York Ad agency and just tell the truth. For all their clients. Truth in advertising! Of course it goes in other directions like the perfectly timed love interest who happens to be insane. But setting that aside it reminded me of one of the single most successful techniques I have ever deployed for clients.

Brutal Honesty.

We live in a world that has far surpassed being jaded. It is now an instinctual response to detect B.S. in advertising and well people.

In the MYB course I have always given this challenge.

“Who here has spent money on print advertising?” Magazines, newspapers and even billboards (if Im feeling lucky). Inevitably there will be only one. One lone master of the ancient art of print ads. Haha. But more times than not when I dig just a little bit they recover that the customers/clients and the money that they were making randomly tapered off never to be truly revitalize.

Now I joke a lot so let me be clear. I do believe that in some cases paying for advertising works. BUT (as in big butt and I cannot lie) it is a rare local situation or aimed towards an older demographic.

So you wanna know why the odds are so bad? Why there usually just one but he just couldn’t keep the flame fanning?!

Its because your audience is smarter than you had been led to believe. Advertising is a volume game that relies upon exclusivity of communication. In other words the less subscribers or readers the less the volume. Less the volume less the results.

Seems obvious I know. But trust me millions of dollars are thrown at drag ads every year but dentists, doctors, lawyers, plumbers, COACHES (they should know better!) and every other service you can imagine.

Why? Are you telling me that these business owners are just lazy? No I don’t think so. Actually they are working their asses off and frankly know they aren’t spending enough in marketing because they don’t know what to do or who to trust.

Every other day my clients receive a walk in pitching SEO, magazine, association (which can really be good actually) all with the promise of great return. The ANSWER to their lead generation needs.

The business owner knows better but they have to keep trying something. I see it every stinking day. I get it. I do the same in many ways in my own business and have paid dearly for it.

And in all that madness one very simple truth is covered up out of sight. Every human respects and honors honesty.

We have separated business from “personal” lives for so long that we have developed two sets of rules and morality systems. We have so gleamed from “data” how consumers behave that we all try the same damn tricks. And any kid gets bored with tricks after they figure them out.


Your not fooling anyone. IF your placing an ad you paid for it. If you paid for it you control the content. The story, the message, the pictures, the testimonials etc.

Gen Xers on over to whatever the hell the new ones are called have come with a pre built BS meter and your waiting your money.


I would challenge any small business owner to attempt to hijack the advertising model. Bring it to bare and have it work by doing something different. Not smutty women or million dollar budgets. Just BRUTAL honesty.

Imacrazy-people-honest-volvogine intros day if a business owner would get on TV and explain why they created this product, whats at stake for them and their family. Or even BRUTAL honesty about their past or about their community.

Embrace that you know that a 65 year old today watches TV for 9.1 years. Accounting for half of all leisure time, about 2.8 hours per day. (source:

Embrace that people know BS and will at least listen to BRUTAL honesty.

Embrace that your advertising isn’t working and if it is for how long? Get in front of a trend and position yourself now according to the national mood and feel of your target audience. Be authentic and be BRUTALLY honest.

P.S. I know there are many people who have had success advertising. More so I know there are a lot of really good people that make a living selling advertising. 

I acknowledge the percentage of successful advertising campaigns but they are low and I mean no disrespect to those that are selling it but surely you feel it. You can disagree with me on the ROI on print advertising as a whole but you cannot argue the positioning of being BRUTALLY honest and how it would impact your business for good.

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