Which Would You Be More Likely to Respond to?
A. 21-Year-Old Models with Perfect Bodies
B. 36-Year-Old Moms with Normal Bodies
by Glenn Shepard
July 19, 2016

Category:  Marketing


Quote of the Week


Click HERE to ask Glenn a question

Dear Glenn,

     Thank you Glenn for the article “A Thank You Letter to COPs” except for one thing – the correct title is police officer. Cop is a slang term. To truly give them the respect they deserve, their correct title is police officer.

- Joy in Michigan

Dear Joy,

     You’re correct, but COPs was used very intentionally. A Microsoft study found that the average human attention span has dropped from 15 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015. (By comparison, goldfish have a 9 second attention span).
     It’s VERY, VERY, VERY difficult to keep people’s attention long enough to read an entire article. COPs is a part of pop culture, in both positive and negative ways. From the TV show COPS (Bad boys, bad boys. Whatcha gonna do?) to protestors chanting “What do we want? Dead cops”, people use the term more than police officer.
     We also received complaints that the line “THANK YOU for catching the child molester who might have raped, abducted, or murdered my daughter had you not caught him” was too strong, and that I should have watered it down.
     But we also received thank yous from law enforcement officers (LEO’s) all over, and have been asked to publish the letter as a poster to sell on Amazon, with the profits going to a non-profit supporting families of fallen officers.
     Thanks for your comment. It’s another great example of how every job is more complicated than it looks from the outside.    

- Glenn in Nashville, TN
Click the red Ask Glenn button to submit a question. You may remain anonymous if your prefer.

Regardless of whether you’re trying to sell a product, save lives, get donors, or get people to join your organization, you need to work 10 times harder at marketing today than you did just a few years ago, for one reason:

People are BOMBARDED with ads from more places now than ever.

In addition to “old school” media like TV, radio, and the Internet, now you get ads in apps, on Facebook, and sp*m is even being texted to your phone.

If your organization isn’t bringing in as much money as you want, there’s a very high probability you’re not doing a good enough job of marketing. Here’s a simple litmus test to tell if you are:

Ask yourself when the last time was that somebody complained about your marketing.

If people aren’t complaining about your marketing going “too far”, you’re not going far enough.


A few years ago, Dove soap wanted to feature “normal” women in an ad. The casting call read “ABSOLUTELY NO ACTRESSES, MODELS OR REALITY SHOW PARTICIPANTS”, for which they were praised.

But it also specified flawless skin and no tattoos or scars, for which they were crucified. People were so outraged that there were calls for the marketing team behind the ad to be fired.

But no one was fired, and I suspect a few got promoted because of it.


Because over the last 10 years, this campaign has increased sales of Dove soap from $2.5 billion to $4 billion, and it was named the best ad campaign of the century by Advertising Age magazine.


At the opposite extreme, Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s uses young, very scantily clad models to sell its hamburgers. Their CEO Andrew Puzder said that if no one complains about their ads, he asks his marketing department “What's wrong?” and tells them to come up with something se*ier for the next one.

Their “Babes in Bikinis” commercials began in 2005 with Paris Hilton washing a Bentley while eating a burger. Others have starred mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey, supermodel Heidi Klum, actress Hayden Panettiere, model and actress Kate Upton, and Kim Kardashian (who’s famous for being famous for no apparent reason).

Last year’s commercial starring supermodel Charlotte McKinney's pushed it even further, by leading viewers to believe she was wearing nothing. Entrepreneur Magazine reported that 52% of people surveyed found it offensive, but it had 2.5 billion media impressions before it even ran during the Super Bowl.


In “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (one of the best books ever written), Dr. Stephen Covey’s second habit was “Begin with the End in Mind”. This is critical in marketing.

The goal of marketing is not to offend people. But your goal also can’t be to not offend anyone. Somewhere in this age of political correctness, folks forgot that you can’t make all the people happy all the time. Nobody ever criticizes marketing if it benefits them.

Dove’s target market is women, and their studies reveal that only 4% of women see themselves as beautiful. If the execs behind their “Real Beauty” campaign had watered it down to avoid offending anyone, they wouldn’t have seen a $1.5 billion increase in sales.

Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s target market is 18 – 34 year old males. Under Andrew Puzder’s aggressive catering to that market niche, the company has grown to 3,664 locations in 44 states and 38 foreign countries.
To Your Success,

Glenn Shepard
Glenn Shepard


P.S. If you want further proof of how true this is, ask yourself if you remember the ads mentioned in this article.

P.P.S. If you want more proof, look at the title of this newsletter. People complain that the word “Sissies” is offensive and want us to change the title. But it will never change, because even if you don’t read the articles, you remember the title.

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