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Where is Your Crack?

Johnny Molson


Don’t make those commercials too slick… people will slide right off.

Philadelphia is home to an iconic symbol of The United States of America. The Liberty Bell sits in Independence Hall, cracked. It split on its very first ding. Each year, a million people go look at a busted bell.

Have you ever seen a picture of the back of it? Neither have I. You can walk around the entire thing. But, everyone who takes its picture, takes it from its most unattractive side. I wonder if it would be as compelling to us if it were perfect?

Marilyn Monroe and Cindy Crawford have moles. Ryan Gossling’s eyes don’t line up, Tom Cruise has a crooked nose, and his teeth are off center.

Starting to pick up what’s going on? A mentor of mine told me years ago “don’t make those commercials too slick… people will slide right off.”

Where is the flaw in your ad? I want there to be a tiny nail poking out of that ad so it snags my sweater when I walk by. Make me remember you like a broken bell.

Your ad campaign needs a crack for two reasons:

  1. It keeps people from “sliding off” because the ad is “too perfect.”
  2. It shows customers you are real. You are filled with flaws and foibles. So am I.

When Orson Wells put together his radio masterpiece “War of the Worlds,” he wrote mistakes into the script. It made the listener believe it was live, because it was imperfect.

CARL PHILLIPS: Ladies and gentlemen (Am I on?). Ladies and gentlemen, here I am, back of a stone wall that adjoins Mr. Wilmuth’s garden…

Think of architecture oddities that compel us: The John Hancock Center, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Burj Khalifa, The St. Louis Arch.

They’re not like the other kids.


A poor marketer would look at The Colosseum in Rome and whine “ehh… it’s all… can’t we get some drywall and even it out…?”

A good marketer says: “You’re beautiful just as you are.”

People are craving authenticity more than ever before. If you want to show me that you are the real deal, show me your scars.

P.S.: If the twelve year old in you read the title of this article and giggled, you’re my kind of people

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