An (In)decent proposition

At Gilroy we believe at the heart of every great campaign is a proposition. This has been called many things over the years from an SMP (Single Minded Proposition), or a USP (Unique Selling Point), even a Unique Selling Proposition – when you look closely they’re all the same thing.

In short, no proposition, no campaign – it’s that simple.

Rosser Reeves of Ted Bates & Company produce one of the first definitions of a proposition over 50 years ago and it still rings true today. Reeves stated that:

1. Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer. Not just words, not just product puffery, not just show-window advertising. Each advertisement must say to each reader: “Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit.”
2. The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique-either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising.
3. The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass millions, i.e., pull over new customers to your product.

So what is a great proposition and why is it required? A great proposition is instantly memorable and will ignite the imagination of any creative team providing a focal point for ideas to form.

Some of our favourite propositions, which we feel illustrates the point nicely are:
• Porsche – There is no substitute
• Aston Martin – Power, beauty and soul
• Harley Davidson – American by Birth. Rebel by Choice
• DeBeers – A Diamond Is Forever
• Kodak – Share moments. Share life

In today’s global advertising marketplace, where companies fight for the attention of users and campaigns live and die based on ideas and not products – the proposition can be overlooked in favour of the latest technological advancement or need to take advantage of social media channels.

In our opinion, in the battle for the attention of customers and prospects the proposition is the precision weapon in your arsenal – and who wouldn’t want to invest in one of those – if you were looking to make an impact?

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