Where’s the Beef?

Hey what’s going on here? I’m a copywriter, not a burger joint! In fact, I’m a vegetarian most of the time.

But this historic ad took some boring yet critical information, and made it funny. Ask yourself, if there’s one thing you want everybody to know about your business, what is it? And how can you tell everybody, in a way that they’ll get it, remember it, and even go around reminding others?

Maybe you would do it like this.

I was just a kid, but the adults laughed at this too. The copywriter who wrote this reached a new level in marketing.You see, most companies would just say, “Hey, we’ve got burgers!” and maybe invent some silly characters to try to get attention. The smart ones used tantalizing close-ups of someone eating a juicy burger practically oozing catsup and mustard, with the perfect lettuce and tomatoes crunching in their mouth.

When competition picks up, the usual solution is just to slap together a special sandwich or other unique product that other fast food places don’t have.

Of course, if you could prove quantitatively that your burger was better, maybe you’d get more customers. If they didn’t die of boredom first.

Wendy’s had a better idea. Their burgers were bigger, better, but they didn’t just say so. They showed it, with a clever campaign that made people laugh. Seriously. Me and my friends would walk into McDonalds and demand in a loud voice, “Where’s the Beef?”

This is a question you should answer. Somewhere you have your industry’s equivalent of an extra ounce of meat. Maybe you follow-up with your clients in a way that nobody else does. Or you guarantee something that others don’t. Possibly, your product is simply bigger, better, or more valuable than that of your competitors.

If you can present this in a way that’s memorable, funny, and embarassing to your competitors without naming them directly, you’ve got a hit! So look closely at your business and every alternative your clients have, and ask yourself, “Where’s the beef?”


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