Who Wants To Buy HOPELESS HAPPINESS? (Always Test Your Marketing Materials)

Check this ad along EDSA:

So When I first saw that sign, I was confused: wait, why would a company – in health insurance at that –  want to sell hopeless happiness?!

Then, upon, closer inspection, I saw what they were trying to accomplish with the shadow and stuff. Since I always pass by that part of Edsa, I’d always ask my co-passengers what they read or saw when they saw this sign. The results would always be:

Hopeless Happiness

I’m not so sure who did this ad for Medicard, but I don’t think the intention for this ad was:

When people see this ad, they should immediately think “Hopeless Happiness!” When they closely inspect it though, they should see that Happiness is the shadow Hopelessness casts. (whose symbolism I still can’t really figure out)

There are numerous other examples of this. (you can post more examples in the comments section!)

Lesson here: it’s not enough that we triple-check our marketing materials and copy. We have to TEST them with other people.

It’s not enough that it passes our own paradigm. Oftentimes, we are too close to the material that we don’t get to see what the everyman will get to see.

No need to hire an expensive marketing research firm. You can start by sending the copy to 20 different friends through email and ask for suggestions (people love to give their opinion in stuff like this). Post it in Facebook for a few friends. Grab a projector, project it on the wall and let the whole office comment without you rendering judgement.

Test. Test multiple versions and make people choose.

More importantly, try to simulate the actual medium the copy will be reflected in. If it’s website copy, don’t show it to people in Word format, plug it in a Powerpoint presentation which simulates the website to be developed.

(so if you have a 50-foot bllboard, don’t post it in EDSA first. Unravel the thing, hang it by a wall, and see how people take it – and yup, I think it’s worth the hassle)

ADDENDUM: Apparently, it’s not the only MEDICARD sign of its kind. There’s another sign, also along EDSA. The same idea but with these two words instead: “ANXIETY ASSURANCE” 

Anyone with a pic? 


Peter Cauton

Entrepreneur, writer, speaker, startup advocate, HR guy. Husband, father of 6, teacher, unabashed follower of Christ.

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