For the next part to the Mind Pocket series I’m going write about a really interesting event that happened in in America, sort of under the radar. Well at least the reasons behind the event are under the radar.
Also there is a great story to tell about the beginning of the whole discovery. The discovery of habits and their part in our lives, that is.
If you haven’t read the other two articles preceding this one then you really should in order to understand what’s going on.
So my first story is about the ultimate “Ad man”. Claude C. Hopkins was a prominent business man in the early 1900’s. At the time he was one of the nations most famous advertising executives. He was the “Ad man” who convinced America to buy Schlitz beer by telling everyone that the company cleaned their bottles “with Live steam”. Just neglected to mention that it was common practice in that industry to clean your bottles with steam.
On day he was approach by a close friend who said he had the an amazing new creation that would be huge in the marketplace. It was a minty, frothy toothpaste named Pepsodent.
This toothpaste would not only go down in Hopkins book as his best project ever. But it would go down in history as a pivotal time in American history. Hopkins change the American outlook on oral Hygiene. Before Pepsodent, almost no Americans brushed their teeth. Ten years after Hopkins started the advertising campaign that would help create a national tooth brushing habit. Studies showed that more than half the population was brushing their teeth daily.
Hopkins isn’t really remembered today, but he is a legend! He was among the first to form principles that now, influence all marketing campaigns. Not to mention principles that because of his work in marketing triggered scientist to figure out more about habit forming. And it wasn’t till a century later they medical labs and psychology labs would fully understand what happened.
How did he do it? Well he took advantage of the Habit circle. The one we talked about already. By his own design, he just needed to find a cue that would trigger the routine of brushing your teeth. And of course a reward.
After doing some dry reading in dental journals and text books, he resolved to attack the beauty aspect of clean teeth. This was going to be his angle. In the reading he read about a the mucin plaques on teeth. This was his cue!
See, the reference to mucin plaques in that rough layer on you can feel on your teeth if you don’t brush your for awhile. Which he cleverly called a “film” and that is what we call it today. We talk about that nasty film on our teeth.
He would post advertisements that said things like; “Just run your tongue across your teeth, You’ll feel a film- that’s what makes your teeth look off color and invites decay.” Of course this would be accompanied by a beautiful smile.
His model looked like this:His cue was the hard part, the routine was his goal- getting people to brush their teeth and the reward was the clean silky feeling on your teeth after you brushed, you were film free. Which made people feel they had a much prettier smile.
These advertisements blew the business up! They couldn’t even keep up with demand. They soon became one of the tops sellers in the world.
His model was simple:
First, find a simple and obvious cue.
Second, Clearly define the rewards.
Today, his rules are staples of the marketing textbooks, they are cited in boardrooms, advertising offices, and business school classrooms.
But here’s the thing, there is something that even Hopkins didn’t know. The fourth and most important rule to forming a habit. The craving!
Once again I’m going to have to leave you hanging. These articles are too long and I don’t want to take all your time in one sitting. In the next article Ill tell you about the very interesting, and real reason why brushing our teeth became a national habit almost over night. It wasn’t till a century later that they figured this out. And this will bring about he story of Julio the monkey.
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