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Moving Myths & A Lost Marketing Opportunity

March 5, 2020

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highIf you were moving somewhere, would you pack your treasures in beat-up, smelly old boxes?? Well, I probably would, but pay no attention to me… 😊blank vertical space, 24 pixels highcolor finish illustration two movers transporting old ratty smelly cardboard boxes people moving have used to pack possessions spraying air freshener wearing gas masks

blank vertical space, 24 pixels highThis post is a mini-case study. It’s about a lost opportunity.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

I recently read a post called Moving Myths Busted on the American Van Lines blog. I liked it. It was short and to the point. Not preachy at all. No hard sell. No don’t-do-it-yourself, because-you-need-a-professional-mover, and-you’d-better-call-us.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Here are the four myths cited in the post, along with related excerpts:blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Myth 1: Free Boxes are the Best Boxesblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

“I’m not saying don’t use used boxes, but for fragile items, heavy things, or when you want to fit as much stuff into the largest box possible, go for new. Plus, new boxes (are) designed specifically
for moving.”
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Myth 2: Packing at the Last Minute is Bestblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

“Tempting though it may be, it’s the worst idea ever unless you
live in a single room, don’t have more gear than will fit in your hatchback, and are not going to be dealing with a lot strategizing
to make that move happen.”
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Myth 3: Friday is the Best Day to Moveblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

“Moving on a Friday (is) the most common day of the week to move… (so) moving company rates can often be drastically higher (on Fridays)… Middle of the week moves… (mean) you may not have to spend your entire weekend unpacking; you may actually be able to enjoy some downtime in your new home before heading back to work on Monday.”blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Myth 4: A Marker is a Markerblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

“No, definitely not… have an available assortment of high-quality permanent markers ready to go. They’re better for writing on cardboard, and you can be sure they won’t be smearing or running if your box gets water or rain splashed on it.”blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

So what was the lost opportunity? It was a missed chance to take advantage of the humor in the post.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Oh, yes. There’s humor there– definitely. It’s a matter of being alert to it. The post conjures up some funny images– more on that in a minute.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Here’s the header image for the post. It’s a nice shot of an American Van Lines van, and two guys doing a careful job. It’s on-brand (you can see part of the AVL logo), but the image doesn’t really relate to the post. There’s nothing there that references moving myths. It’s a generic image. It could be used for any number of moving-related topics.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

header image two guys moving desk into moving van American Van Lines post about moving myths

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highI understand the attraction of generic images: they’re cheap, and you can just plug them in. The problem is, they all have a certain sameness– and it registers with people. The images become invisible. We scroll by them. We recognize them as “visual filler.”blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

A post with some humor offers an opportunity to break out and get attention for your brand. It’s also a chance to humanize your brand: to show people you’re likable, approachable, someone they’d like to do business with. A shared laugh creates a bond. Humor helps people relax and drop the shields we all have up against today’s non-stop marketing and sales.

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highThe humor in the Moving Myths post is low-key, and that’s fine: marketing humor is about being warm and personable– you don’t need to tell jokes or do standup comedy.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

I thought the post could benefit from a funny header illustration. I decided to do one.
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I spent an hour thinking and scratching out ideas. It’s always a mess at this stage– like so:

 

rough thumbnail sketches for American Van Lines post about moving myths

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highI spent another couple of hours penciling and inking some roughs.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

One of my many mantras is: There’s a funny visual hidden in
every subject– and in every subtopic. So I did a rough sketch for each of the four myths.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

I loved the idea of used boxes that still reeked of their prior contents. I googled “smelly foods.” I’d never heard of Stinky
Tofu– perfect!!blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

rough sketch two movers transporting old ratty smelly cardboard boxes people moving have used to pack possessions spraying air freshener wearing gas masks

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highPacking at the last minute made me think of a family frantically stuffing boxes before the moving guy arrived. OK, the dog packing his bones is the best part.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

rough sketch mover arriving with hand truck dolly family jumping up down on stuffed boxes packing at last minute

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highIf most people move on a Friday, how about a traffic jam of Friday moving vans? Up above, the Wednesday and Thursday vans have smooth sailing.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

rough sketch moving vans backed up on freeway honking horns everybody moving on Friday above vans delivering on Wednesday Thursday speeding along

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highI could see someone making faint marks on a cardboard box with a pencil, but how to show a thick marker as a wiser choice?– bring in another dog!!blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

rough sketch man has used pencil to label boxes very faint hard to read dog using thick marker to clearly mark his box

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highAs you probably guessed, I liked the “stinky boxes” idea best. Here’s the finish again (below). Just click on it to see a bigger version.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

A humorous illo pulls readers in, and puts them in a good mood. Prospects appreciate brands that make them laugh. It keeps those brands top-of-mind.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Moving is an industry where all the players do basically the same things. Humor can help you stand out from the competition.blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

color finish illustration two movers transporting old ratty smelly cardboard boxes people moving have used to pack possessions spraying air freshener wearing gas masks

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*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *  blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

About Mark: I’m an illustrator specializing in humor, editorial, branding, social media, and content marketing. My images are different, like your brand needs to be.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

You can view my portfolio, and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Questions? Send me an email.blank vertical space, 40 pixels highRecommendation testimonial for Mark Armstrong Illustration from Angela Zimmerman, Editor-in-Chief, Crawdaddy Magazine

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 9, 2020 11:01 PM

    Making moving “lighter” with your humour, Mark!

    Like

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