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Richard Dennis
May 23, 2012, 04:15 AM
Dien,

Thank you for finding this gem.

I've been doing an advertising training call once a week for several years, and yesterday's call focused on the Burma Shave signs. I remember them so clearly from travelling thru rural areas as a kid back in the 1950s.

The signs are fun to read, of course, and to remember. But the biggest reason for reading them is to understand the advertising model and see what parts of it can be adapted to whatever you're doing today:

1. Quick attention-grabbing ads: a set of 6 signs, and each sign is just 2 or 3 words.
2. Most Burma Shave sign sets are mini-stories. A lot of people struggle with how to tell an effective story quickly. Burma Shave signs are a great model.
3. Effective humor can build a relationship with your prospect and put them in the right frame of mind; attempts at humor are very, very difficult to get right in advertising. Usually it either goes unrecognized, or it's idiotic, and it's often plain offensive.
4. Anticipation. When I was a kid in the 1950s, back before the interstate system, I remember riding thru the farmland of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, always alert for the next group of Burma Shave signs. What could be more effective than getting people to look forward to your advertising?

Many people on my call remembered the Burma Shave signs ... which tells you a lot about my market. Anyway, thanks for pointing out that page.

Richard Dennis


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