“Money is too precious to spend on experiments, but it’s amazing how many people do.” – David Carmichael

What are one of the main reasons why most advertising fails?

There are approximately one hundred and twenty thousand sales people responsible for selling advertising on the television and radio stations of America and Australia. Each of these one hundred and twenty thousand sales people will make “prospecting calls” on an average of three business owners each day. One business owner out of twelve will say, “Perhaps your station is the right one for my business. I’ll buy a small schedule to test the waters, and if it works, I’ll start using your station on a regular basis.”

Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? In reality, it’s no different than standing at a roulette wheel saying, “Perhaps black is the color for me. I’ll place a small bet and if I win, I’ll start betting black on a regular basis.”

Thirty thousand business owners in America and Australia will decide to “test the waters” on a TV or radio station today. Most of them will experience very poor results.

Will they be disappointed?



No, because most of these business owners have “tested the waters” many times before with very limited success, and the few successes they had were rarely repeatable.

Why would a business owner do what he has done before and expect a different result? It is because every one of those one hundred and twenty thousand sales people have been taught to sing a seductive little song whose chorus line is, “The secret is to reach the right people, and our people are the right people for you!” Once again, the logic of reaching the right people is extremely appealing, mostly because it’s common sense. The problem is with advertising is that it so often defies common sense.

Want to hear the really sad part?

Nearly every single one of the disappointed business owners would have been delighted with the station they chose had they only understood two simple laws of advertising

Law of Advertising # 1:

It’s what you say, not who you say it to, that will determine your success in advertising. Most people are “the right people,” when you say the right thing! Be convincing!

Law of Advertising # 2:

Short schedules are always a gamble. Few people will be convinced quickly, and few of those people who are convinced will have any immediate need for what you are selling. By the time their need arises, your “testing of the waters” will be over and they will have forgotten you.

You must decide what to say and then say it to as many people as you can afford to reach relentlessly. If you cannot afford to reach a station’s audience with relentless repetition, you should consider buying a smaller audience. It is better to reach ten people ten times than a hundred people once.

“Testing the waters” is the signature of an uncommitted advertiser, and I’ve never known an advertiser to experience more than momentary success with such an outlook.
Focus and commitment are the unwavering signatures of real success. Show me an advertiser with a genuine commitment to a focused message, and I’ll show you a success in the making. 

The Chickening Out Period.

Most advertisers have begun at least one great AD campaign, then “Chickened-Out.”

The “chickening-out” period usually falls between the second media invoice and the third media invoice. Between week 8 and week 14.

The advertiser uncovered the right message, but didn’t realize advertising has a delayed effect. It takes months, even years for the full effect of a good campaign to show results. It’s like trying to push a car from a standing start. Lots of effort and strain go in at the beginning – you don’t think it will move, then it moves ever so slightly. Then a little more, and soon you are trotting behind with one hand, while the car rolls along.  
Little green seedlings are popping up through the soil and the advertiser says, “Yeah, I’m seeing SOME results, but not nearly enough to justify all the time and money and labor and effort we’ve put into it. I’m looking for a new farm.”

“No wait! It’s about to start happening… be patient – it’s about to be payday.”

We have a ritual at Wizard of Ads. We tell new clients, “We promise you unconditionally that if we start doing the right thing, the one thing you will want more than anything 90 days from now is to fire us! We promise that you will believe it is the biggest mistake you have ever made in your life. Let’s cross that bridge now.”
This is BEFORE we take their money.

Let’s cross that bridge now because if you don’t have the courage of your convictions, if you’re not totally committed to stay with this, then let’s not go down this path. Half of the people who say they’re ready, aren’t. It’s painful… it’s hard.


That’s not what you really want to hear is it?

But it’s the truth.

Originally Written By: Wizard of Ads Partner

Craig Arthur- Wizard of Ads Australia

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