Archive for November, 2011

Honesty: a good news story

DATE: November 18th, 2011

Canadians trust advertising. In a study by the Gandalf Group, released on Wednesday, Canadians want advertisers to be held accountable to standards of integrity.But, overall, they trust the advertising they see in Canadian media. They haven’t quite come over to online advertising, but it’s growing.

As advertisers, it’s our job to understand the products and services we promote. Our copy, images and postitioning takes the truth and tells a story that interests consumers. Again, very simply, that’s our job.

This spring we had the honour to do the press for Mennonite Girls Can Cook.

When the publisher approached us, I just couldn’t walk away. After all, each recipe celebrates my past and makes me think of my mother’s floury hands punching out light as air buns. The cookbook just had so many, honestly, almost naive, good moments.

And advertising is all about the story.

It all started with one woman’s search for Paska, a traditional Mennonite Easter bread. That inspired the beginnings of a blog, that soon turned into a recipe of the day. With over a million hits, the publisher encouraged the women to think about publishing a hard cover book. These enterprising women cooked their hearts out. The end product was an engaging book that tells a story of simple hospitality.

There’s a couple of great press angles.

First of all, the women did it on their own…. recipes, concepts, photos, copy. It’s really an “at home” production that’s pretty awesome.

Secondly, they celebrated their culture and made it relevant to today. For those unfamiliar with the Mennonite tradition, Mennonite women, historically, fed a lot of people. Even I know that a recipe for bread that requires a dozen eggs makes a lot of bread. And it’s unlikely that it will fit into my nifty little modern mixer. The women get this. So they have adjusted the recipes for the modern home.

Thirdly, they have tested and tried recipes that they found written on the back of envelopes tucked in their grandmothers’ kitchen drawers. They have translated a “handful of” into actual measurements and “add enough flour to make a soft dough” into a more literal account.

Finally, they understand today’s need for simplicity and relationship. The overarching theme of the book is family and friends. We can picture these women in jeans and a sweat shirt, sharing a cup of coffee and a cinnamon bun with a neighbour. We can imagine their dusty apron hanging beside a child-sized replica as they taste homemade cookies with their grandchildren.

This is a feel good book.

So we took the honesty and integrity, already found in the book and the story behind the book, and simply told the story.

That’s what I love about advertising!

P.S. The publisher just learned that Mennonite Girls Can Cook is the number one selling gift cookbook on….. I love that too!