Times have changed.

When this ad hit the mainstream, it was accompanied by hundreds of others, many with dentists touting the health benefits of cigarettes and cigars!

Not only has that changed, but the audacity of someone to use sex to sell anything has…oh wait… That hasn’t changed, has it?

I’m posting this ad here for Tiparillo cigars not for men to ogle over (although I have no doubt most will) but to illustrate a couple of important marketing lessons. If you can ignore/skip past the sexy, suggestive part, there are a number of instructive points to be lifted from this ad that beg to be revealed:

1.) Beauty/sex sells… It always has and always will. If you have the ability to leverage beauty in your ads that is unique to your practice, I’d do it and do it in a classy way. Like this ad? …Ah, perhaps not so much. I don’t think even I have the stones to run an ad like this. Not to mention, it wouldn’t pay too well since it’s NOT a direct response ad. It’s a brand-building/awareness ad, which is just not something small businesses should intentionally invest in without good reason (more on that in a future post). Why? The ability to track results is impossible with brand ads vs. direct response ads, which by design can be measured and held accountable for money invested.

2.) The use of a strong headline…The headline used here was ideally intended to arouse curiosity (sorry… sort of…) and asks the male consumer a question. Bluntly, if you don’t know what a Tiparillo Cigar was, you do now. And, I’ve a feeling this mildly steamy image won’t allow you to forget it anytime soon.

3.) Vintage sells… TODAY. What is old is new again. This vintage ad, were it more direct response oriented is a pattern interrupt, which is a strategy we rely on heavily in marketing Member dental offices all over the US and Canada. (More on this in a future post where I’m interviewing Dr. Brian DesRoches, an expert in psychoneurobiology – it’s coming soon, so don’t miss it! In the audio post, we reveal why pattern interrupts are so effective in capturing the attention of your ideal prospect.)

4.) Target market choice. The ad’s creator was clear who the target market was for these cigars. NOT the dental hygienist. NOT women. Men. It reminds me of the racy hamburger ads Carls, Jr. was doing for a period of time, featuring the likes of Paris Hilton and Kim K. Their target market was young men. Period. Not women. In creating any ad, being clear about who want to attract is key to success. It matters big time when choosing media, copy and photos or video for the ad. (Oh, and Carl’s, Jr took all sorts of flack over those ads. You know they’re effective when you’re getting sh** flicked your way!)

5.) What’re they thinking about? The ad sort of enters the conversation taking place in most men’s minds (who’re also the target market): “Why didn’t I have a toothache earlier? If I’d have only known…” I say that last line, tongue-in-cheek. The best ads enter a conversation taking place in the mind of the prospect. Other great ads might well call attention to solutions previously unknown. Think: implants as replacement for annoying dentures.

To make this an effective direct response ad, several things would need to be added. So, what is this ad missing, like most dental ads?

  • A great offer to try Tiparillo cigars
  • A real, genuine cigar-smoking testimonial
  • A tight deadline to respond to get the great offer
  • Limited availability of opportunity to get offer
  • Phone number and contact name of person to ask for
  • Website link/page where more of the above can be posted and leveraged (depending on your goal/desired outcome)

While this ad likely generated a lot of attention from men (and women) when it ran, without the important elements I just mentioned, like offer, testimonials, etc., this is just another here today, gone tomorrow image-based ad, likely with little track-able revenue to this specific investment in media. If you can’t tie success to an action, it’s damned hard to know which action to repeat, right?

Remember to track your ad spend. Know what actions are driving patients to your phones! And, it’s a standard, best practice to know just how good your team is at converting callers to patients (with phone training — which we provide for free to all our ClearPath Society Members) before you invest one red cent in advertising!

***If you’d like to add more new patients to your practice — with specific interests in mind, like implants, dentures, or just good ol’ general dentistry, visit http://busydentist.com to learn more!