Advertising: it’s vital to the human condition. It’s what distinguishes us from animals.  Have you ever seen an otter try to sell laxatives to a panda bear? I didn’t think so.

But would you like to? Because for just $19.95…well, we can discuss that later.

Without advertising, magazines would only be half of a page long, mute button manufacturers would go out of business, and you would never know who your favorite sports team’s official gastroenterologist was.

Which is why I’d like to teach you all about how to make a good advertisement. For this, I will be using this real, actual ad that Facebook recently presented me with:

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This is a targeted ad that Facebook, using its world-famous algorithm, decided I would find particularly interesting. Clearly they saw that I periodically use the words “blogger” and “self-published” and thought, “This is someone who desperately needs a job but whose skill-set would be best described as ‘adept Googler’.”

But this article is not about me and my Microsoft Paint proficiency. On the other hand, this graph is all about my Microsoft Paint Proficiency:

paint-proficiency-graph

Let’s break down this ad and see what makes it so good.

First, let’s look at the opening line: “Thinking of getting into Boudoir Photography…?”. This is a question and one that they feel confident there are only two possible answers to:

          1. No, I was not thinking of that. Why? Should I have been? I don’t know the first thing about it, so it’s hard to think about. If only there was somewhere I could get some information about boudoir photography.

          2. Yes, as a matter of fact I WAS thinking of getting into boudoir photography. How did you know? No, seriously, how could you possibly know that? Can you read my mind? How long have you been listening to my thoughts? Do you know what I was thinking about last Tuesday? Look, I’ll buy whatever you’re selling if you’ll just promise never to tell anyone what I was thinking last Tuesday!

Clearly both these answers lead the advertisee to seek more information from the ad.

Of course this company does not expect any other answers to this question, ignoring the outliers like myself whose answer was “Let me answer that question with a question: would penguins be able to walk while wearing one of those blankets with built-in sleeves?” (For future reference, the answer is no, unless they could wear it backwards, at which point it is really no longer a blanket with sleeves, but a robe.)

Overall, I give the opening hook two stars. For just one easy payment of $4.99, I’ll tell you how many stars that’s out of.

After the first sentence, I feel the ad starts to lose focus, reassuring you that he’s got you covered and offering a break-in boudoir kit.

This is called the “bait and switch” technique. We start out having an innocent chat about boudoir photography, but now suddenly he’s offering to cover me while I break-in to someone’s boudoir. Call me a prude, but that crosses a line for me. I don’t know what Facebook’s algorithm told him, but I do have SOME standards. Sure, I’ve been a getaway driver, but only socially. Like a social smoker, I only getaway drive when I’m hanging around with other people who are also getaway driving. Of course then the problem becomes that we are all so busy getaway driving that no one is actually committing crimes for us drive away from.

So then it really becomes less getaway driving and more cruising.

Then again cruising is illegal in some states, so it’s kind of a crime.

But it’s a crime that’s hard to drive away from.

My point is that I’m definitely not going to be the one doing the actual breaking and entering into boudoirs.

But then the ad turns that negativity around by telling me the break-in kit is totally free!

So I’m in!

But the enthusiasm quickly wanes when I read that the kit includes an “e-book, resource guide, templates, and more!” This is starting to sound overly complicated. I would think a brick and a pair of pantyhose to wear over my head would be sufficient.

Of course, I haven’t owned a pair of pantyhose since the 90’s. The closest I’ve got is a pair of jeggings, which are hard to both see and breathe in. And that’s when I’m wearing them on my legs. I can’t imagine how bad it would be with them on my face.

And I don’t recall ever owning a brick.

I do own a really heavy biology textbook. That could work. But I had to write my name in it to keep people from stealing it. (Back when I was in school, there was a big black-market for outdated science textbooks, but only ones that didn’t have anyone’s name written in them apparently.) If I throw the biology textbook through someone’s boudoir window, I’ll never be able to find it again with jeggings over my head, which means I’ll have to leave a vital clue with my name in it at the crime scene.

This will lead the police straight to me. They’ll find me at home, surrounded by my ill-gotten gain.

“This is awkward,” the police will say.  Not because of my criminal ineptitude, but because I’m over 30 and live with my parents.

There, in my parents’ home, will be all the things I stole from the boudoir; all the jewels, priceless art, classified documents, exotic birds… The more I think about it, the more I realize that I’m not entirely clear on what a boudoir is, so I’m not sure what I would even be stealing.

Clearly I am not qualified for this line of work.

And so, overall, I have to give this ad a D-. For all it’s flashiness and promises of a bounty of boudoir burglary booty, it failed to convince me that a life of crime is the life for me.

On the other hand, I have just learned that the median salary of gastroenterologists is $342,000 annually. So please do contact me if you happen to have a free kit with everything I need to break into a gastroenterologist’s house.

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