Sam Horn - Intrigue

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Appeal of Alliteration

I'm on the second leg of my media tour now, (just in Dallas and Salt Lake City and on my way to Minneapolis) and had the privilege of seeing 94 years young (or as he puts it - "the 50th anniversary of my 44th year") Art Linkletter in action.

We were both speaking at Mark Victor Hansen's Mega-Speaking Empire event in Southern California. My presentation was on "Are You a One-of-a-Kind Speaker?" and Art shared some of the fascinating highlights of his life, including some of his favorite quips from "Kids Say the Darndest Things."

We all laughed out loud at the little boy who, when asked if his dog had a pedigree, replied, "He used to, but we cut it off." Ouch.

Art talked about his books Hobo on His Way to Heaven (insights on how a poor kid grew up to know kings, queens, and presidents), Drugs on My Doorstep (his plea to do something about rampant use of drugs after his daughter jumped to her death while on LSD), and Living Better Longer - Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life (tips on how to stay vital - Art only quit skiing last year because his 90 year old wife was afraid he'd get wiped out by wild snowboarders - in your 70's and beyond.)

Please notice the use of alliteration (words that start with the same sound)in his titles. Hear how it creates a pleasing ear music?

Say these words out loud.

Dunkin Croissants.

King Gorilla.

Rolls Jaguar.

Bed, Toilet, and Shower.

Those words sound kind of clunky, don't they?

Now say, Dunkin Donuts, King Kong, Rolls Royce and Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Hear how those words fit together? That's the impact of alliteration. It makes your language lyrical, gives the mind a hook on which to hang a memory, and has the potential to transform something generic into something genius.

For example, did you know that cardboard insulating sleeve you put around your cup of coffee in the morning is actually a multi-million dollar business? Why? Innovator Jay Sorenson gave that common product a catchy name - Java Jacket.

Can you use alliteration when naming your creations? It just might help your product POP! off the shelf.

Want more ideas on how to title your idea or invention so it gets noticed and bought? POP! Stand Out in Any Crowd has been named one of the best business books of the year and has been featured recently on KRON TV in San Francisco, KTLA in Los Angeles, CBS NewsRadio, and WGN from Chicago.

Visit to see if I'm presenting a public seminar in your city, or call Cheri Grimm at 805 528-4351 to arrange an interview for your TV show, radio program, or newspaper/magazine.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Want Your Book to POP! Off the Shelf?

Just finished the first leg of my media tour for POP!, and had the opportunity to go in dozens of bookstores across the country.

After signing copies of my books, I usually take a few minutes to browse through the store, looking for fresh examples of clever titles that stopped me in my tracks and compelled me to give the book a second look.

Kudos to the following books for doing just that.

Momfidence: An Oreo Never Killed Anybody and Other Secrets of Happier Parenting Author Paula Spencer uses what I call a Half and Half Word to coin a new term. Kudos. When you coin a new word, you become the de facto topic expert – because you created and named the topic.

Shopportunity How to Be a Retail Revolutionary by Kate Newlin has been getting a lot of media attention these days – as least partially because of its innovative Alphabetized title. Freakonomics is another example of an Alphabetized title.

Fling or Ring Which Finger are You Going to Give Him? Author Alison James is positioning herself for this year’s POP! Hall of Fame because her title is Purposeful, Original, and Pithy. Her previous book, I Used to Miss Him . . . But My Aim is Improving also has an edgy attitude, perfect for this genre.

I laughed out loud at a book by Jackie Ivie displayed in the front window of a bookstore in San Francisco. This steamy romance novel featured a shirtless Fabio-look-a-like on the cover stretched out in a seductive pose. This is a seasonal book designed for the holidays. How did I know that? There was a Yule-log fire in the background and the title was The Knight Before Christmas.

What’s the point? There were tens of thousands of books in each of those bookstores. Which caught my eye? Which do I remember? The ones with the clever titles.

If you’re working on a book or writing an article for your website or newsletter, take the time to give it a clever title. It will help get your work the attention it deserves.