Remember Pontiac’s slogan? “We build excitement!” Except, for a long time, they didn’t. While others invented the sports sedan (BMW) and recreated the roadster (Mazda) and built the hot hatch (VW), Pontiac made cars like the anemic Pontiac Sunbird. And nobody cared. After lying to their buyers for decades, Pontiac was shut down by GM. The last Pontiac came off the assembly line in December 2009.

Everyone assumes that advertising lies all the time. Only Congress is trusted less. So most people pay as little attention as possible to most messages. This adds up to a tremendous opportunity for us to attract interest in our clients by telling the truth. Stand for something meaningful, and reward people for paying attention, and more of them will.

Next up:
Why marketing fails, #2:
Design as a ‘nice to have’ rather than a ‘need to have’