In our part of the world, the water is hard with lots of minerals so water softeners are commonly found in houses. They cost a couple of hundred bucks, sit in the basement, every couple of months you fill them with salt and mostly you forget about them. The only reason you remember to fill the salt barrel is because the drinking glasses start coming out of the dishwasher spotted and dirty. I tell you this to give you some background on an ad that I heard on the radio that really got me thinking.
The guy in the ad started explaining their new water softening system doesn’t use electricity to soften the water, it’s just a flow through system yada, yada, yada. Then he says, "JUST IMAGINE THE SAVINGS." I about fell off my chair.
Wow! Could I save enough to take my family on that long dreamed of Mediterranean cruise? Or maybe pay off my new car? Or maybe I could save enough to pay for a building to be built in my name at the Wizard Academy. I’m getting really excited now! What could I save from this guy’s water softener?
I asked my wife, "How much do we pay for our water softener?"
She replies, "I don’t know, we own it."
"So how much do you think it might cost us to run it?"
"Not a clue," came her answer.
As much as the guy in the ad thinks it might be easy for anyone to imagine, in fact, it’s rather difficult. I can’t even imagine a time when I would normally care enough to do the math, but this guy’s got me all revved up. Just imagine the savings!
Maybe I can retire the mortgage on my house, or buy an island in the Caribbean to spend my winters. Maybe
I still don’t know what the savings could be and I’ve been thinking about it for days now.
If you’re writing advertising, BE SPECIFIC! It’s more persuasive than generalities. "Just imagine the savings" is a generality that when it comes to advertising means squat.
He could have said, "Every day, my water softener will save you enough money to buy a cup of coffee and there might even be enough for a cup for your spouse too." I might have felt it was worth it and it probably would have kept my expectations in check, although a new Porsche still sounds pretty darn good.