Billboard-sized screw-ups and other nonsense

Steph, who is one of my loyal readers, sent me an email that made me simultaneously chuckle and shake my head the other day. 

Drawing of a crooked, cracked grey tombstone with RIP written on it

The only type of marketing that should be dead and buried is crap marketing

I recently saw this piece of direct mail and it’s a terrible piece of advertising. Steph wrote to tell me that it gets worse:

“Hi Vicky,

“I have just seen that Hiscox Insurance conker ad as a big billboard in Coventry. So they have wasted even more money on that pointless campaign than just Direct mail.

“I don’t have to tell you that its even worse as a billboard ad, as obviously drivers have even less time to work out the meaningless conker concept!


Indeed. A few seconds’ thought should tell you why Hiscox has wasted a probably very large amount of money on a bunch of billboard ads nobody will take any notice of.

Anyway, on to some entirely different nonsense. And this is really important, too.

I’m in a few marketing and copywriting groups on Facebook, and came across this little gem a few days ago. Apparently email is dead. Honestly, if I had a dollar for every time I’d heard somebody spout this nonsense, I’d have a good excuse to go to America for a little holiday.

The clanging stupidity of declaring anything “dead and buried” should be self-evident, but just in case it isn’t, I’ll explain.  Email isn’t dead. Not if you do it the way I and a few other smart people do it. Every time I send an email, I put more cash in my bank account. But more important than that, every time I send an email, I strengthen my relationship with my readers a little more.

Or push away the people I don’t want to be in contact with. (Case in point: yesterday I got a little light hate mail from a chap called David, who objected to my ever selling anything. But I also sold a few books, won a new Member, and – perhaps sweetest of all – got an inbox-full of replies telling me how much I made them laugh, relating their own tales of Monday morning woe, and generally having a laugh with me. Go figure.)

My point is: marketing is marketing is marketing. It pretty much always stays the same. It’s only the medium that changes. Email isn’t dead. Social isn’t dead. Print ads aren’t dead. Radio and TV ads aren’t dead. Crap marketing has always been dead.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Avoid wasting time, money and effort on the kind of crap Hiscox is putting out. Make sure every marketing activity you invest in has the best chance of bringing you a decent ROI.

And if you want to do that consistently, I humbly recommend getting your mitts on a copy of Business For Superheroes. It’s a simple, entertaining guide to making your marketing more sticky.

Get your copy here.



Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.

PS Seriously: most business owners skip the most important part of marketing. Most of them skip it because you don’t know what you don’t know. Some skip it because they don’t think they need it, or they don’t think it applies to them (they’re wrong and daft). Laying your foundations well will make everything else much easier and much more effective. Business For Superheroes will show you how.

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