Want your Facebook posts or ads to do better? 
Let's go back to 1959.

There's always something we can learn from the marketing masters - even if it's from "pre-digital times" - way back before there were things like computers, the Internet, and smartphones. 

The image below is what's called a direct response ad. This particular one ran in a magazine. It's a style of advertising that informs and educates. Through an instructive approach, the content helps prospects make a decision and take action.

When the ad below ran in 1959, it doubled the sales for Rolls-Royce. And changed advertising forever.

When I first came across this ad, I thought, wow, that looks a lot like something from Facebook's timeline. If so, was there a reason for this coincidence?

Let's look at its five parts. 

  1. The Image: A clean picture that would appeal to the person being targeted. The goal of this image is to interrupt a prospect's train of thought. If the picture doesn't stand out as unique and interesting, then everything else on the page is invisible.

  2. The Headline: It's all about a benefit. In this case, quiet, which is something a Rolls-Royce prospect would highly value. The headline is also funny because an electric clock doesn't make any noise. At the time, an electric clock in a car was also considered innovative technology.  
  3. The Subheading: This is the hook that transitions the reader from the benefit to the main body copy. This is the time to make a statement that stands out just as much as the picture and the benefit.

    In this example "What makes the Rolls-Royce the best car in the world?" is not only bold, it creates what is known as "a story gap." It challenges the reader to investigate how it's possible, and why. What makes any car the best in the world?

    The person who would purchase a Rolls-Royce is the type of person who is highly interested in anything that's top of the line. They MUST read on and judge for themselves if this particular car is in fact, the best in the world.

  4. The Body: This backs up the subheading claim with specific details. It offers proof of being "the best" with detailed information. The copy shows how each car is tested (by using a stethoscope), how easy it is to drive, and how convenient it is to service. It illustrates other luxury touches such as a French walnut picnic table or a dictating machine.

    Because the writer understood his target market for this car to be wealthy families, showcasing the fact that there are three separate systems of power brakes, and that "damage to one system will not affect the others" proves Rolls-Royce's commitment to safety.

    After reading what feels more like a "report" than an ad , the reader is now an expert on the new Rolls-Royce. For the well-qualified prospect, the only outcome of thought will be "I want one."

  5. The Call To Action: What specific action should the reader take? In 1959, the only options were to write a letter, or call a dealer.

The author of this ad, David Ogilvy, is considered to be "the father of modern advertising."

His impact on why we buy, and how to sell, continues to this day.

Which brings us to Facebook. 

How would it look if Mr. Ogilvy were creating ads in our modern digital age?

Check out how seamless the original ad from 1959 fits magically into what's called a "long-form post" on Facebook.

Here are the same five parts from above:

  1. Attention-grabbing picture: stops the person scrolling.
  2. Benefit headline: stands out and gets an emotional reaction (electric clocks don't make noise)
  3. Transitional hook: creates a story gap/curiosity (how is this car the best in the world). Side note: both the headline and subheading from the original ad fit perfectly before the "continue reading" link.
  4. Educate and inform body copy (prove what was said in the hook).
  5. Take action link (make plans to test drive one).

What's actually fascinating, is that this headline from a magazine ad in 1959, also fits perfectly into Facebook's mobile ad version - right down to the characters:

In this fast, streamlined modern world, the Learn More button above will take a prospect to a landing page where they are educated and informed (step 4). 

Or, in the case of a video post or ad, the body copy (step 4) is where the prospect watches the ad right where the picture is, where they are informed and educated.

Stand-alone landing pages and video content are two advances that weren't possible in 1959.

Yet, in spite of everything being so different now, how and why we buy is very much the same.

The similarities between one of the most famous print ads of all time and Facebook's post/ad structure tell us that there's something timeless between how we stop what we are doing to process interesting visual stimulation, get our curiosity piqued, learn something, and take unplanned action. 

So how might a restaurant use this format as a template to create a post or ad that draws in a new guest?

  • What image tells the story of what's fascinating and unique about the customer experience?
  • What awesome claims about food, service, or atmosphere can be made?
  • What "painstaking details" do you care about that the customer may not be aware of?
  • What innovative or creative things do you do that nobody else does yet?
  • What's a moment in the history of your business that changed how you do things?
  • How do you and your team go the extra mile to deliver excellence?
  • How can you open up somebody's world to things they'd be interested in, but don't yet know about?

Show these things in your emails, your website, your Facebook posts, and yes, your ads, and you may just double your sales, too.

If you have any questions about your marketing strategies or how the above may apply, let's talk! Schedule a strategy session

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Income possibilities and marketing results mentioned in this case study are based on a specific event, and may or may not be reproducible elsewhere. Success of any nature depends on countless variables and effective email marketing is only one of them. There is no guarantee these results are reproducible. Trial and error, iteration and use of best practices and the continued push towards improvement through tracking and analysis, can continued improvements be made, whatever they may be.