This weeks Idea: Grown up kids at home? Here’s a way out!

with Neil Godin

Last week we talked about how s – e – x is selling condo’s at a Vancouver development called the Ralston, marketed by Vancouver’s Pilothouse Real Estate Inc., a group famous for their creative – and hyper-effective – approach to advertising. This week we ask the rhetorical question:  “Does humor sell?”  I call it a rhetorical question because I think the answer is an obvious “yes,” mainly because humor (like s – e – x)  gets attention – and as Pilothouse Marketing Merlin, Bill Morrison, told us last week, “the first rule of advertising is that it must get attention.

Case in point: another Pilothouse project called The Wave – again built by Rize Alliance (@RizeAlliance), this time in the city of Surrey, BC. Here. Check out their ad:

A “Parental Advisory” ad by Pilothouse

A “Parental Advisory” ad by Pilothouse

I saw the ad while skimming through one of my local papers, and it literally jumped off the page at me. I love the humor they’ve used to present a really compelling offer (hitting two keys of effective advertising – get attention AND make a compelling offer). BTW, in case it’s difficult to read, the offer says, “Wave’s new down payment programs means you (or your kids) can buy with a 5% or 10% down payment and we will match it dollar for dollar!” Not bad.

A few more examples of humor in business…

Signs Mar 2013 - 3  Signs-Mar 2013 - 1Signs Mar 2013 - 2

 Our thanks to for two of the examples above (I can’t find the

source for the third one, but it’s so good that I decided to show it anyway).

Your call to action: 

My point. Obviously. Is to stimulate your thinking. Whether you’re designing a display ad, a sandwich board, a flyer or a poster, why not make it fun. You will get more attention. And more attention will lead to more traffic – and more sales. Thanks – yet again – Pilothouse. And. See you next week.  NG

Ps – If you know of a (very small) business owner in BC who could use coaching in marketing and sales (or training in almost any business topic) please let them know about the BC government’s Micro business training program. They provide small 100% grants of $1500 each to qualifying business owners (in other words, strangely, there is no cost involved at all). BUT. Qualification is limited to people who have NOT completed formal (diploma, certificate or university credits) post-secondary education. (I know this sounds strange as well, but that’s the criteria for some reason). And their business must be very small, with fewer than five employees.  All kinds of training is available, so have them call me for directions even if they’re interested in obtaining other kinds of training. I want to support any initiative that supports small business. You (or they) can reach me at 604.888.4570 (Metro Vancouver) or 1.800.563.IDEA (4332) or email me at

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