UTP rehabilitation: from tyzhkreklamy to invention

The light of true UTP touched me in 2005, at the exhibition "Advertising". Having walked around the three exhibition halls at the Expocenter on Krasnaya Presnya, I asked the 70 stand makers the same question: How is your advertising agency better than its competitors?

And received 69 answers "our prices are lower." Just on 70th the booth art director Irina replied "Our UTP - individual design projects."

Today it is the basics. But in 2005 and after 69 identical answers it was a real enlightenment. Nobody makes individual design projects, only Guru Irina.

Struck by this miracle, I decided that I had grasped the true UTP and did not go to advertising exhibitions anymore. As it turned out, in vain.

10 years have flown by

A unique selling proposition has become famous. Then fashionable. Then "decomposed into mold and linden honey."

UTP vying with each other to offer "marketing copywriters"

USP require customers

UTP wash bones online media marketing agencies

"UTP (unique selling proposition) is a briefly stated message about a service, product or the entire company, which distinguishes them from a number of similar ones and serves as an incentive for the customer to make a purchase." General Director magazine.
"Unique selling proposition (UTP; Eng. Unique selling proposition, unique selling point; USP) is an advertising strategy (product, service or company) that speaks of ONE difference from competitors. The difference should be so significant and tangible to encourage customers only work with you. " Digital company "Japan".
"A unique selling proposition solves the problem of the buyer or satisfies his need. Each USP consists of a set of products and / or services that meet the needs of a certain segment of the audience." Cossa online edition.
"There are products that do not initially claim to high quality - this is their USP. All of you know the stores are" 3 kopecks each ". Insane Seals of Internet marketing.

And all this taken together looks like nonsense.

Is UTP a single message or strategy message system? Dedicated to the product, service or enterprise? It is the product or its difference from other products? One product or a set of products? Or at all the price? And how should the UTP for a company, product, online store, landing page differ?

Insight, O shadow of the Master!

Who knows the UTP better if not its creator? Ask Rosser Reeves, Vice President, and Chairman of the Board of Ted Bates, Inc. Turn over the pages of the ancient manuscript "Reality in Advertising" ("Reality in Advertising", 1961). Let us freshen the original chased formulations, and understand their meaning.

First Law UTP Rosser Reeves

"Each ad should make a proposal to the consumer. It should not be just words, not blatant praise of the goods and not showcase advertising. Each ad should say to every single reader:" Buy this particular product and get exactly this specific benefit. "


One USP is made for one product. Or one service. No UTP companies, stores, sites. I buy MacBook, but not Apple. Internet access, but not VimpelCom. Repair heater, but not electrician Anton. Therefore, any information about Anton, VimpelCom and Apple is absolutely useless to me. The annual turnover, the size of the charity, the color of the eyes and the sexual preferences of the manufacturer will not make a MacBook or repair more useful and attractive.

Babies need fresh air — buy a stroller for this. Feet will stay in the heat - for this buy sandals. Thirst torments - for this buy kvass.

The Second Law of the USP Rosser Reeves

"The proposal must be what a competitor either cannot give, or simply does not put forward. It must be unique. Its uniqueness must be associated either with the uniqueness of the product, or with a statement that has not yet been made in this field of advertising."


It turns out one of two. Or there was no product on the market before. Ideally, this is an invention. Like Jobs' personal computer - Wozniak in mainframe times of several rooms in size. Like a Heineken beer bottle with a bottle opener at the bottom. Like a mobile phone in 1973 and an electronic cigarette in 2003. And so on, see the patent catalog. And the advertising description is old, stereotyped, and such a product is sold due to natural curiosity and interest in novelty.

Or the product was previously on the market, but its valuable difference is unknown to buyers. Then you can open your eyes to the public, using a new advertising description. Ideally, an invention in the field of advertising, according to the 5th International Classification of Inventions (MKI), subclass GO9F. As advertising texts on the cash voucher in 2003. Like a PepsiCo video player in glossy magazine Entertainment Weekly in 2009. In the extreme case, as a "new word", a creative artistic find. Like "Melts In Your Mouth, Not In Your Hand" ("melt in your mouth, not in your hands") in 1954.

Third Law UTP Rosser Reeves

"The proposal must be so strong as to set in motion millions, that is, to attract new consumers to the consumption of your goods."


Ideally, the proposal should promise to meet the needs that are painfully important for the masses. As "bread to the hungry, land to the peasants, factories to the workers" in 1917. How to "buy my wife boots" in a starving and impoverished 1992.

And if the "happiness for all gift" does not provide the goods, then at least reduce one - the only pain. If we are sandals, then never to rub. If we are a wheelchair, then light and never creaked. If it is kvass, it is completely without a metallic taste.

Conclusions: the USP that is being talked about is not the true USP.

Every UTP uses a competitive advantage, but not every competitive advantage corresponds to UTP. All the way around.

The unique selling proposition for Rosser Reeves is technique inform the public about socially useful and fundamentally new products and services (inventions) with advertising messages, containing elements of novelty (inventions in the field of advertising, artistic discoveries).

The advertiser working on the UTP technology is like a good producer. He deeply knows the desires of the public. For the sake of their satisfaction, he selects performers - actors (goods and services). Finds bright young talents, discovers hidden individual talents. Develops a repertoire that reveals their unique talents in all their beauty. Organizes concerts and notifies the public.

This is a huge, hard and ungrateful work. But if it is not done, then the output is annoying and empty melting of faceless singers, senseless songs, monotonous films. What we actually see. As above, so below. Both in show business and in advertising. And even the slogan "the image of nothing - thirst for everything" has become a rubbed slogan, not a guide to action.

No mass need? It will not work to apply the USP. No one needs mitts pads or sandals with a mine detector.

No novelty? There was a novelty, and everyday life? Too will not work! In 1856, viewers of the short film "The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station" screamed. No other movie will cause such an effect.

Competitive advantage is not associated with consumer properties of a product or service? Too will not work! The largest state-owned bank in Russia cannot be purchased; you can only take out a loan in it or arrange a deposit. No one will buy a wide range of goods in bulk, at best, a dozen items. And the store of exclusive goods is an oxymoron: there is no exclusivity for everyone.

You can copy the invention (clones of Internet services). You can copy the marketing tactics, advertising technique. You can splash text, picture, video. But it is impossible to clone novelty, when replicating it ceases to be a novelty. That is what Rosser Reeves meant when he said that USP could not be stolen.

It was a saying. And here is a fairy tale about how to do it right, and fail in triumph. The world is cruel, and the Tao UTP does not guarantee a "sky in diamonds".

Five reasons for the failure of advertising by Rosser Reeves

1. Competition advertising, not products

"The essence of the reasoning is as follows:

  1. Advertising (and not the product) has to withstand competition from a great many other advertising appeals.
  2. Consequently, attention should attract to itself primarily advertising (and not the product).
  3. Therefore, an advertisement (and not a product) should be different. "


How familiar this is. As usual. Have we not repeated to customers and employers that advertising advertising is the main thing? Right now, they say, we will pull out a hair from a beard and there will be a magic design, a slogan, an offer, the right one to substitute, WHICH WILL SELL ANY GOODS? As a lecturer from an old joke, they explained so many times that they convinced the customers and believed for themselves. And what should we all do with this faith now?

2. Non-existent advertising advantages

"Advertising stimulates the sale of good goods and speeds up the failure of the bad. To declare a particular product that it does not possess is to force the consumer to notice its absence once again." Alfred Politts.


Since 1995, the web - studio Runet blow customers in the ears. Mol de "site - a source of attracting customers." But this is not true. By itself, the site is able to attract no more customers than a pack of booklets in the closet. After 20 years, most customers are frustrated with online advertising and do not want to pay for it. And the minority persistently demands the growth of sales from any Internet users: website builders, SMM-schik, web designers, copywriters.

3. Image - a vampire

“Show a giant rocket on the screen, starting in smoke and flame. Behind the scenes, let the announcer extol the charms of your shaving cream. Or show shining youths on water skis to the narrator’s rant about your toilet soap. Such images become vampire images, because have nothing to do with the text. The viewer's attention forks between the rocket and the cream, between the water ski skiers and the toilet soap.

From such a split always wins the image. The rocket, in all likelihood, will be remembered by about 75% of the viewers, and the shaving cream - by twenty-five percent. "


Emotions and instincts are not able to build logical connections, to lay bridges from the illustration to the text. The more strongly the feelings are affected, the more active the dominant of AA Ukhtomsky, the temporary focus of brain stimulation. The more resources it brings to itself, drowning and slowing down other processes.

If the exciting image itself, sensually illustrates the product being sold, then everything is in order. Dominant enhances perception, helps to remember, pushes for immediate action. This is how the pictures of water-covered bottles of drinks in the heat work. So the photos of models regularly serve the fashion industry.

But where more often the illustration is not related to the product! Apples "symbolize" originality, targets "indicate" skill, gilding "is associated" with wealth, and erotica sells everything. When the image is weak, it's half the problem. The real trouble comes when the image excites instincts. The dominant created by him regularly brains the brain resources for itself. If the advertising message is not related to the image, the product remains out of attention.

4. Dvizhuha imaginary novelties

"This advertisement has outlived its usefulness," says one manufacturer.

“She’s fed up with the public,” says another.

"New advertising will give a new shine to the profile of my brand," the third one confidentially says.

If 90% of the population do not remember your advertisement, you can hardly say that it has "outlived itself". If 90% of the population is not at all familiar with your advertising, it is unlikely that it can “get bored”. As for the supporter of the "new brilliance", then it costs him to arm himself with numbers, as it will immediately become clear that by making changes to the advertisement, he simply reduces to a minimum the number of people who will remember his brand profile. "


See how many factors influence advertising success? Poor advertiser. He is desperately not sure that advertising will give a return. He fumbles blindly in fonts, colors, shapes, cases, channels and pads. He is torn from side to side. And everyone is happy to entice him and push him. Night terrors and daytime ambitions. Wife, secretary, security chief, sales manager, telephone and postal spammers. This is how self-serving speculations with imaginary novelty win over common sense, sense of taste, and economic expediency.

5. Beggars of obscurity

“Try to reach as many families as possible, different families. Try to reach as many people as possible, different people. In other words, influence the audience less often, but try to make this audience as large as possible.”


Let's say you did everything right. This product has a unique difference. It satisfies the need of buyers much better than the products of competitors. All the arguments in the advertising message focus only on this difference. The advertizing company steadily beats in one point. But, alas, coverage is small. You missed the massive channels of influence, or regretted the budget, or it simply did not exist. What's happening? Competitors steal your advertising solution and compromise your UTP. Just because their product does not have your distinctive properties. As a result, not only do you not benefit from your USP, but you cannot even use it in order not to be considered a deceiver.

Similarly, the Tao UTP was perverted and compromised.

And so much so that in the 1990s, the TRIZ-Chance Guru built their unique marketing consulting practice based on Rosser Reeves’s USP methodology. At the same time, they never mentioned their own unique selling proposition. And the author was touched only briefly, in a single article.

"Today, UTP is the abbreviation that is abused in advertising, perhaps, most often. Hundreds of advertising agencies operate it. It has found distribution in many countries of the world. It is freely and thoughtlessly applied to mottos, cleverly concocted phrases, strange pictures, and just headlines. " Rosser Reeves (Rosser Reeves), "Reality in Advertising, 1961.

Verily, "the knowledgeer does not speak, but the speaker does not know".

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