The other day, I was running through The Container Store on a lunch break. I like The Container Store. But on this particular day, I was running. This wasn’t a fun errand. I needed—not wanted—a bunch of stuff that I didn’t feel like spending money on. And I needed to get back to work.

But something made me stop and smile. On the wall, in the industrial shelving section, in huge letters, was: “You may find yourself leaving the garage door up on purpose.”

That. Is. Great. Copy. It speaks to the benefit of the product with a gentle nod to the fallibility of human routine. Some of us occasionally, accidentally leave the garage door open. And it’s mortifying. Years and years of “let’s just put it in the garage for now” hanging out there for all the neighbors to see. Well, The Container Store is here to make you proud of your garage. And I love it!

I was also relieved to find that I could still be moved in some small way by marketing. Between the millions of messages that we are all bombarded with every day—and the fact that I’ve been a marketer for 25 years adding to the noise (albeit, I’d like to think, in an impactful, needle-moving way)—I thought I might be prone to a certain indifference. I mean, how many times can we be told to “Fall in love with Fall?”

One grows weary. But lately, like The Container Store moment, I’ve seen some stuff that I really noticed. Stuff that stuck.

Here’s another one. When was the last time you read a jar of peanut butter? Justin’s is a brand that dedicates half of their classic peanut butter jar’s real estate to a mollifying letter to jelly. Have you seen this?

“Dear Jelly, let’s let bygones be bygones. I know your solo career hasn’t gone as well as ours, but that’s not our fault. You’ve got to give the people what they want, and the people want the delicious harmony of our dry roasted peanuts and one-of-a-kind grind. Even so, people love the classics and we had some good ones. Call me. — Justin”

It’s brilliant.

Run out and buy a jar.

Right now.


And while you’re enjoying your peanut butter and fantasizing about your neighbors saying, “love what you’ve done with your garage,” consider the following for your own brand and marketing efforts:

• Humor works: Funny stuff can draw attention and promote brand recall. Plus, it sometimes even makes people like you more.

• Emotion works: People are, well, people. Marketing that engages their emotions allows them to better connect with your brand.

• Being imaginative works: Whether it’s what you’re saying, how you’re saying it or even where you’re saying it – like on the back of a peanut butter jar – the unexpected or unconventional leaves a longer-lasting impression.

That’s all for now. I’m heading to the garage. Got some work to do out there.