A killer opening line.
A willingness to be real.
It’s hard to be human in advertising. It’s natural not only to hide our warts, but to pretend not to have any. And with the popularity of positive-mental-attitude nonsense, many of us fear reprisals from Karma should we dare utter any word that fails to brim with sunshine and lollipops.
All the more reason that I admire Netflix for the email and blog post they published today regarding their rather unpopular recent price increase.
The opening line? “I messed up. I owe you an explanation.”
Signed, no less, by Co-Founder and CEO Reed Hastings. When a guy opens with a line like that, it’s hard not to hear him out.
Years ago, in a direct mail package for a client, I opened the sales letter with, “I’m a little embarrassed.” For that particular product in that particular vertical, the average response rate was 0.5%. My letter pulled 3.5%. I’m not great at math, but I believe that 3.5 is seven times greater than 0.5. It was — still is — the most successful direct mail package for that product in the client’s history. Yet they quickly abandoned it. Why? They preferred selling one-seventh as much to suggesting that their CEO, whose signature the letter bore, might be human.
Kudos to Netflix for being real. To read the Netflix blog, click here.