Martin Calle

Martin Calle

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About Martin

Martin Calle (7 February 1955 – ) is an American advertising and marketing executive and pioneer. He believes the purpose of advertising is to sell. He insists that advertisements or commercials show off the value of a product, not the cleverness of a copywriter. His most typical ad is probably that for Folgers. The Best Part of Waking Up is remarkably successful, increasing the product's sales half a dozen times. In 2 years Folgers made more money than the movie Gone With The Wind had in a quarter-century and bypassed Maxwell House to take and sustain a 38 to 14 share advantage. Calle's work for Procter & Gamble alone grew the company from $12 billion to $57 billion over the tenure of six Chairmen.

Calle generates billions for his clients at Calle And Company where his work on just two core and established businesses, Folgers and Pampers alone have outsold The Top 25 highest grossing films of all time combined.

Calle focuses his work around finding what he calls a product's Special User Effect, the one reason the product needs to be bought or is better than its competitors. These often take the form of a product-based reason-for-being from which springs a slogan such as "Provides Night-Time Tranquility" for NyQuil, a product he invented. — Being seen as a liquid was consumer-perceived to be an advantage over night time consumption of rival products such as Dristan that were tablets. Calle has overseen the introduction of dozens such as Claritin's Clear Day (hard at work day generating 67% of Schering-Plough's annual revenue on its own) or others such as Chunky Soup's original "Soup You Eat With A Fork." Calle argues that while advertising changes frequently a product's reason-for-being is long lasting. His work for Tylenol rescued the brand restoring the 92% of capsule segment sales lost to cyanide tampering: Cold-filtered Miller Genuine Draft saved Miller Brewing from becoming just another Lite Beer manufacturer, Colgate Total and many other products use his methods to get where they are today, making dramatic top and bottom line demonstrations.

Calle points out that to work, advertising has to be honest but a product's reason-for-being has to be 100% consumer created deploring executives who "interpret" data and shoot from their own hips. Calle insists the product being sold actually be superior, and argues that no amount of advertising can move inferior goods. He disagrees that advertising can create demand where it does not exist. Successful advertising for a flawed product only increases the number of people who try the product and become dissatisfied with it. If advertising is effective enough and a product flawed enough, the advertising will accelerate the destruction of the brand. Similarly, Calle believes it is a waste of money to claim uniqueness that doesn't exist, because consumers will soon find out, and they won't come back to the brand. This is important because historically fortunes are made from repeat business. Money would be better spent building some kind of meaningful advantage into a product before launching a costly advertising campaign to promote it.

Calle advises clients to be wary of brand image advertising which is less likely to be successful than his highly differentiating product-claim-based strategy. This is because when communication relies on an image, the claim is unarticulated. An image can almost always be interpreted different ways, many if not most of which won't do a product any good. The message that a viewer takes away from an image is often very different than what the advertiser had intended.

To put it another way: practically every product has a number of benefits that might be claimed. It's like looking at your product through a kalidascope. Commonly one of the benefits is more popular than the others, even more popular than the others combined. Therefore, it's imperative to do everything to make people understand the most important benefit, to achieve credibility and to avoid distractions. The aim is to have as high a percentage of people as possible take out of an advertisement what the advertiser intends to put into it. This is most likely to be achieved if a claim is articulated and proven with credible evidence—in a brief commercial, some kind of dramatic demonstration.