Five simple words – inextricably linked to memories of pedalling ice cream pedlars – create arguably the coolest call to action ever seen. They also provide a yardstick for all forms of business communication, especially PR, marketing communication and advertising.
With its inversion ‘Buy me and stop one’ – often unofficially added to vending machines in public lavatories – ‘Stop me and buy one’ is a clear and concise invitation for customers to engage with the vendor. It has precisely the same fundamental purpose as, for example, a glitzy TV commercial for a soft drink, a holiday travel brochure or a business-to-business media release: encouraging sales.
Some people might argue that advertising drives sales while PR merely provides informative support to the process (and sometimes at high cost). However, there’s been talk in specialist online groups recently suggesting that the return on investment (ROI) in PR may now be more readily trackable because PR has a more direct role in sales than was previously acknowledged. This is why ‘Stop me and buy one’ is a good lesson for PR practitioners and their clients.
The advertising copywriter, constrained by a fraction of a minute’s airtime – or the sides of a tricycle ice box – has to produce words that are both compelling and concise. In PR, we have the luxury of a much broader canvas that allows explanation, greater detail and interesting quotes – but that does not mean carte blanche for waffle, puffery or spin.
As I said in the previous post, PR writing of whatever length should make the reader want to find out more – effectively it is an implied call to action. PR certainly does inform, and I would argue that it enables customers to make well-informed buying decisions. I know it works: I once wrote a page of advertorial for an institutional landlord which quickly resulted in a significant new tenancy in a long-vacant large industrial property.
If the product is good, and its pricing and availability are appropriate, then professional PR can make a significant contribution to the sales effort. Consider the economics of it: A brief article in a trade magazine, for example, can reach thousands of potential customers at a fraction of cost of putting additional salespeople on the road. Let the sales staff follow up all the leads generated by the article – conversion rates will the far more impressive.
So if you want to boost your sales, you could probably benefit from starting (or overhauling) a PR campaign. Remember: Stop me and buy one!
David Goddin was born in the UK and educated in South Africa. He began his career on daily newspapers and trade journals, before moving into public relations consulting. He produced award-winning writing and became an Accredited PR Practitioner, the highest qualification of the Public Relations Institute of South Africa. Since his return to the UK 17 years ago he has also contributed to a number of highly successful PR and marketing communications campaigns for major national and multinational clients. He is currently also President of the Haslemere & District Chamber of Trade & Commerce.