My descent into the madness

Learning by doing in the mad mad mad world of advertising

A long long time ago I can remember seeing television ads for a regional television and electronics retailer known Crazy Eddie. What does everyone come away from these commercials?

And since I was always into computers:

“These prices are INSANE”

How masterful is this statement? It doesn’t quantity what kind of price insanity this is. High prices? Low prices? Didn’t say. But you got excited. High-energy indeed! By repetition and difference — being unlike any other commercials — these commercials stood out.

But that was television then. What if you’re doing sales in the web? Are you supposed to standout?

Headlines and Hooks

An unfilled need is the siren call of business — so myself just recently having a situation where I had a small crisis I thought it would be great to start with that. Your headline has to catch someone’s interest.

People scan these to find relevance. Advertisers use these to select their market. Combined together they can be a force or good or evil.

Attention deficiency versus Benefits

Notice that I don’t say the word feature. That’s the only time that word appears here.

Most of the time we’re so over overwhelmed with what we need to do that we only do the easy thing. Nothing. We don’t plan for it and we don’t like it when someone tells us “what we ought to be doing”. Get outta my business! I already know that! And so on…

It isn’t that we don’t want to avoid problems, it’s that we all have a limited capacity to juggle all the problems we have — who wants more?

What people most desire is clarity. If they know what they need to do, they will do it. Advertisers have turned helping people to this clarity into a science. It can be via social proof, greed, status, fear, anger or joy. My focus here was fear. I hate losing data and I hate it when others are losing data. So, I need to bring this to the forefront of people’s attention.

Calls to action and more calls to action

Don’t bring the horse to water when there is no water. So I need to try and learn by doing. You came here to see the descent. The web is cheap, I have the skills and the tools are available. Two pages starts it all. It looks ugly, but perhaps that is its charm. It’s written in Phoenix Framework (Erlang, Elixir and all of that technical jazz) and and hosted on Digital Ocean. It barely uses the PostgreSQL database but, perhaps, will be well exercised as I grow into this.

It made me cringe, but the evidence says this should work. You can see my first “advertisement” I have ever made that was written with the “seasoned” guidance of the Internet at

I also edit a “science based” “software engineering” blog called “The Accepted Forest” — if this sounds intriguing you can subscribe to my newsletter. Did I just write that?