Just Do It

Al Ries writing in Ad Age says it’s imperative to describe one’s brand in three words.

Powerful, long-lasting brands are built by owning a word in the mind.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. David Burn?
    “Advertising’s Useful Idiot”
    “Lacks Bias Check-o-meter”
    “Practices Intolerant Tolerance”
    Outstanding fun!
    -Your Budweiser lovin’, Fox News watchin’ pal -or- “Conservatively Oriented Adguy”

  2. I’m honored, particularly by the third in your series.

  3. That was my fave as well…
    Great site. Thanks for the drive-by.

  4. “Italy

  5. Google: Your big brother

  6. Carl LaFong says:

    Carl LaFong; Total babe magnet.
    Hey, your’e right! It does work! Thank you, Al Ries!

  7. Thanks for the prompt David.
    I’ll go one better. Two words: Positioning, schmositioning.
    That old “owning a word in the mind” idea, again.
    Just because it’s possible to sum up some successful brands in pithy phrases doesn’t prove that’s why they are successful.
    But this positioning idea has been the justification of no end of uninspired interruption marketing. The future, I hope, is not one of trying to own bits of each other’s minds.

  8. The future, I hope, is not one of trying to own bits of each other’s minds.
    When you put it that way, Johnnie, it does sound gross. I think it’s the verb. To own implies property and a customer’s mind is not, in fact, property. Yet, I don’t want to get lost in semantics. For example, is it any different to occupy top-of-mind? Is the marketing message a mere visitor, not a new landlord, in this case?

  9. David. You can have top of mind (e.g. when I say “soup” you think “Campbell’s.”). Just because you know it, doesn’t mean you desire it.
    I’ll take depth of feelings. Feelings drive profitability in a markeplace bursting at the seems with lookalike products and services.

  10. Tom,
    Thanks, but hey, I want some of what you’ve got, not tired old top-of-mind bullshit.

  11. There