A little while ago someone in an online networking meeting said that he was new to being self-employed, having previously worked for big companies. While an expert in his field he knew nothing about all the other bits and pieces you must do when you run your own business, and he said he would welcome any advice. I typed in the chat box ‘Never hurry a Murray Mint’. I saw him glance to the right to read the message and then smile. Job done; connection made. That was also the moment I decided to create the Businessthoughts blog.
The title for this post comes from the jingle in a television advert for Murray Mints:
Murray Mints, Murray Mints too good to hurry mints.
The advert was first aired in 1955 (although the sweets came on the market in 1944) and Murray Mints were the first product to have a jingle. Just mention Murray Mints, which are still on sale, to people of a certain age and they will sing the jingle in a reaction that would make Pavlov proud. This illustrates the power of adverts and jingles. You can view the advert on YouTube.
There are a lot of business lessons to be learnt from Murray Mints. The first is the power of alliteration; would the sweet have sold as well had they been called Thompson Mints Just look at the world of entertainment for the answer: Mickey Mouse, Betty Boop, Pink Panther, Desperate Dan, Roy Rogers, Hulk Hogan – the list is massive. There are exceptions, for example Dennis the Menace, they rely on the other device in the jingle, rhyme. There are some that do neither, Buzz Lightyear for example, and in the confectionery world Werther’s Originals. If you are writing copy think about using alliteration or even better use a copywriter, it is their bread and butter. You need to be careful as it can seem false or tortured, for example, Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked? Printed in Peter Piper’s Practical Principles of Plain and Perfect Pronunciation by John Harris (1756–1846) in London in 1813.
If you have a good product don’t mess with it; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” The original sweet company, Pascall Murray, was taken over by Bassett’s, then Bassett’s was gobbled up by the Cadbury-Schweppes giant. However, the sweet was left unchanged. Have a little think and see where you think the Murray Mint is on the Boston Matrix. If you don’t know what that is go Google.
What the advert tells us, or rather doesn’t tell is very informative. There are no facts; Murray Mints are made of glucose syrup, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable fat, molasses, salt, soya lecithin, and flavourings which doesn’t sound very appealing. Relaxed indulgence does and that is what the advert is telling us about, it is selling us a little bit of a dream. If you know anything about what it was like in the 50’s you can see why it was successful.
My favourite song is Wonderful Life – Black (I collect cover versions – 32 so far) and in the lyrics is the line “There’s magic everywhere” – that is so true, magic little bullets that you can use in your business. So grab a pack of Murray Mints, too-good-to-hurry mints, put your feet up and think what else you can learn form those suckers, and all the other magic around us.