How The Great Sales Message on This Simple Pilot Eraser Caught My Attention

You never know where you'll find a useful marketing lesson.

You never know where you’ll find a useful marketing lesson.

I don’t write with pencils that much, and I think I’ve had this eraser since 2012 (when we moved the DreamBody Centre (DBC) to it’s current location in the Bahrain Mall).  So I’ve never really paid any attention to the words on the eraser.  I think I must’ve bought it from the Geant supermarket here in the mall.

Anyway, there I was mind mapping the DBC’s new social media video advert, when I stopped for a few moments to reflect, holding my gaze on the eraser. Wow! I thought, that’s some pretty good sales copy (advertising words).

The copy wasn’t exactly earth-shattering, but it had the good basics every sales message should have.  Here’s the text on the eraser:

Superior Erasing Power!

New FOAM formula provides great erasing power with minimal pressure.  Eraser dust sticks together, making clean up easy.

If you’ve been following me for some time, you know I’m a marketing nerd and that I like to analyse marketing material I come across, and this simple eraser provided a great opportunity for me to do this.  Harken unto me my friend, and you will learn something powerful!

First, back to basics:

As a traditional direct-response marketer I subscribe to the truism that good advertising, in essence, is good salesmanship in print.  Selling 101 is all about features and benefits.

A feature is something a product or service has, and the benefit is what it does for you.  For example, at the DreamBody Centre we have our 23-minute hydraulic circuit (feature), the benefit of using them is burning fat, losing weight and getting fitter.  Get my point?

Moreover, a good copy writer will usekey trigger words that can be very impactful, because they connect directly with human psychology.

Let’s look at the key words first:

The title has the word “Superior” in it.  Who wants regular erasing power, when this eraser provides superior erasing power.  A powerful word that implies it’s a lot better than other options.

Then there’s that all time classic, beloved by copy writers since God-knows-how-long, “new.”  Have you ever asked a friend “what’s old?”  Of course not.  No one wants the old thing, right?  We don’t even want the current thing.  We all want the latest and the newest, and even though we might think we’re immune to it, the word “new” still works, and I bet it will be one of those trigger words that will always work.

Another kew word is “formula.”  It somehow implies that highly intelligent scientists in a lab spent many hours developing the eraser. Not only did they develop a great formula, but it’s a “FOAM formula”. The capitalisation of FOAM almost implies that it’s an acronym of long scientific words.

Features to benefits

The first sentence goes on to say that the “new FOAM formula” (feature) “provides great erasing power” (benefit 1) “with minimal pressure” (benefit 2).  Also the “eraser dust” -is that even a real thing?- “sticks together” (benefit 3), “making clean up easy” (benefit 4).

So on that tiny space on the back of the eraser they’ve managed to use three trigger words translating into four benefits.  Not bad, huh?

Lessons for you and your business

The first lesson is to put time, thought and effort into your sales messages.  I’m pretty sure erasers are considered commodities (where decisions are based almost entirely on price), but that did not stop the people at Pilot from putting in that extra effort in crafting a concise sales message on the back of the eraser, in the off chance someone standing in the aisle will hold it up and examine it more carefully before deciding to buy.

Second, no sales space is too small.  Direct marketers – quite the opposite of brand marketers – hate empty white spaces.  They consider them waisted space that could be used for adding extra benefit-oriented copy.  Ask yourself, do you have empty space anywhere that could be used for additional sales messages?

Who knew you could learn so many marketing lessons from a simple eraser, right?

Thanks for reading and talk to you soon.

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