Sam Horn - Intrigue

Friday, April 21, 2006

Freakonomics Added to POP! Hall of Fame

The cover of the brilliant book Freakonomics proves that a picture can indeed be worth a thousand words. This book by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner not only won the 2005 Quills Book Awards for Business, I’m nominating it for the POP! Hall of Fame for the following reasons.

1. The pithy one-word title is a compelling example of how you can Alphabetize a Core Word, (economics) to coin a new term and a one-of-a-kind brand name that belongs only to you.(This technique is introduced in Chapter 3)

2. The sub-title “A Rogue Economist Explains the Hidden Side of Everything” is purposeful in that it promises to reveal secrets which favorably positions the book with its target audience of executives and business book buyers who have “seen it all.” (Chapter 2)

3. Their ads feature a marvelous “Valley Girl” endorsement from the Wall Street Journal that says, “If Indiana Jones were an economist, he’d be Steven D. Levitt.” That comparison linking the professor/author to movie actor/celebrity Harrison Ford broadens the topic’s appeal, turning it into a cross-over book that’s attracted mainstream readers who wouldn’t normally be interested in this subject. (Chapter 5)

4. The authors pose such fascinating “POP the Question” inquiries as “How is a beauty pageant like a crack dealer? What do school teachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?” Aren’t you intrigued? Phrasing these unexpected comparisons into questions engages our curiosity. (Chapter 13.)

5. The book cover “AFLACs” its premise, “Things are often different than they appear” by showing a crisp green apple with a slice cut out and you clearly see the inside of the apple is a juicy . . . orange. This made their abstract concept concrete. This startling image has become an identifiable visual brand that is now associated with their work. (Chapter 8)

6. Furthermore, this visual contradiction is an excellent example of Contra-brand (Chapter 10) in which they challenge a common assumption, in this case, the belief that you can’t compare apples and oranges. They just did! Kudos.

POP! Stand Out in any Crowd will be published by Perigee (Penguin Putnam) in Sept. '06. You can access these techniques before then by visiting to buy the 3 hour CD series or by calling 805 528-4351 to schedule Sam to deliver her fun and fascintaing keynote on this original topic to your organization.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Need a Sound-Bite Slogan?

Hmmm . . . so what POP’d out this week?

I was looking through the movie ads for something interesting to see this weekend. What caught my eye was the slogan for the bank robbery film “The Inside Man” starring Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, and Clive Owen.

The slogan? “You can’t judge a crime by its cover.”

Kudos. They used a clever twist on a cliché to produce an intriguing sound-bite slogan.

We all need a succinct summary that communicates what we have to offer in a way that anyone hearing or reading it “gets” it and “wants” it.

Wherever we go, we’re asked, “Why should I buy this?” Or, “What do you do?” It’s important to develop an intriguing elevator intro (I never call them elevator speeches – who wants to listen to a speech?) so we can quickly and compellingly articulate the essence of our work so people are motivated to try it and buy it.

Want to know an easy way to come up with an interesting elevator intro?

Write down 5-10 words you use to describe different aspects of your offering -- whether that is a service, book, movie, idea, or invention. For example, if you own a dog-obedience business, you might write down dog, canine, puppy, heel, sit, leash, lie down, train, obey, etc.

Then, go to your computer and bring up Type in your descriptive words, one at a time. Up will come a variety of clichés containing your Core Words, (what these are called in the POP! Process). For example, when you enter "dog," you'll find such high-potential phrases as "Every dog has its day," "Let sleeping dogs lie," "Call off the dogs," "That dog won't hunt," and "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."

Let the word play begin. You don’t want to repeat cliché’s (boring), you want to re-arrange them so you have a fresh tagline that delights people because of its novelty. For example, your slogan could be, “You CAN teach new dogs old tricks.”

Want more examples? Humorist Loretta Laroche titled her new book, “Squeeze the Day: 365 Ways to Bring Joy and Juice into Your Life.” Dallas-based speaker Michael David Hoffman presents a program for salespeople called “You Lost Me at Hello.” A financial advisor has a business motto of, “Grow me the money.” See how this works?

To learn how to re-arrange clichés to come up with your own appealing elevator intro or sound-bite slogan, visit for info on Sam’s three hour POP! Stand Out in any Crowd CD series.