By Bob Salvas
This is one of 3 articles on some underlying reasons why promotional products work. There are more than three reasons,
but these are some of the main drivers of success for businesses who utilize promotional products. The three reasons are
REPETITION, TACTILE and WORD OF MOUTH.
Reason number one is REPETITION. Promotional products are a form of advertising and it has been long accepted that the
main reason advertising works is REPETITION. Consider the words of Thomas Smith from his book “Successful Advertising”:
The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
The second time, they don’t notice it.
The third time, they are aware that it is there.
The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
The sixth time they thumb their nose at it.
The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it.
The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what it is offering.
What’s interesting about this is that Thomas Smith wrote this in 1885! The concept of repetition of a message working has
been around since the beginning of advertising! You may have also heard about it as THE RULE OF SEVEN, which asserts that
seven repetitions are the minimum needed to make a sale. More modern studies suggest that the number of brand impressions
needed is somewhere between 6 and 20. The truth is that there probably is no ‘magic’ number but there is also no doubt that
When it comes to repetition of your brand message, there is nothing more effective or affordable than promotional products.
Having your message seen in the cluttered digital world or even on television or in a newspaper is a challenge. Having it seen by
the same prospects (in order to achieve repetition) is even more difficult. Added to that, you probably pay for the ad on those
mediums EACH time it runs. That can make the cost prohibitive. With promotional products, you pay for an item once and that
one item delivers multiple repetitions of your brand message. In fact, many useful promotional product items are used by their
owners an average of once a week, meaning you would have 52 repetitions of your message after one year (and some items,
like writing instruments, may be used daily!).
“Repetition,” according to Researchgate (2009), “imbues the statement with familiarity.” It turns out that familiarity does NOT
breed contempt. In fact, when it comes to promotional product advertising, familiarity breeds success!