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What Makes Something Remarkable?

with 4 comments

Old Volkswagen Station Wagons never die.

In several classes at Northwestern College we’ve talked about what makes something remarkable, as in, “Hey, let me tell you about this thing I saw….” The Heath brothers tried to parse out the secret of remarkable in Made to Stick, and did a good job noting six principles that make something sticky. But in our Social Media Marketing and now in Freelance Copywriting classes, we’re noting “remarkable” is less science and more art.

Was this ad remarkable in 1966 when DDB’s Marvin Honig wrote it for Volkswagen? Maybe. It is remarkable now because of the nostalgic, iconic bus—just look at the shape of that thing! But for me it is the story telegraphed from inside the bus and at the center of the image: the small businessman waiting to sell you some chili. The copy plays out the story benefit by benefit. Sure—you know you are being sold, but you’re willing to walk right into the story for the 26 seconds it takes to read the copy.

The ad is remarkable in retrospect because of the place this vehicle took in American culture. The story is in the ad, and the story in the ad played out in real life. Surely “remarkable” has something to do with reflecting real life. That’s where things get sticky.

Read the copy here.

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Via copyranter

Written by kirkistan

March 15, 2012 at 9:15 am

4 Responses

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  1. […] discussion reminded me of an ongoing conversation a few of us have had about what makes something remarkable, as in, making me remark out loud to another person because it was that important to me. In both […]

  2. […] and tweeting (and etc.) are simply tools of remarking. My working definition of “remarkable” is that a thing is remarkable when I choose to tell someone about it. Bear with me: there’s […]

  3. […] the spirit of “What is remarkable?” I offer Slide #43 from adman Martin Weigel’s excellent Slideshare on how brands fool […]

  4. […] can be carried in a style to which our target audience is accustomed. Making sure our messages are sticky for the primary and secondary audiences we care most about is better than shooting for viral. And […]


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