Promote the ‘Feel-Goodness’ of Dry Cleaning

Howard Scott |

Follow Coca-Cola’s lead and help customers make emotional connection

PEMBROKE, Mass. — I recently saw an online Coca-Cola ad that caught my attention. It pitches that buying a can of Coca-Cola is good as a motivator. The video shows a montage of people on a giant stationary bicycle happily trying to earn a can. The presumption is that ordinarily one wouldn’t be motivated to exercise unless there was an offer of Coca-Cola as a reward. The voiceover says that a can of Coke contains 140 calories that is consumed by 23 minutes of cycling. Cycle for 23 minutes and treat yourself to a Coke.

The ad may be engaging, but the logic is faulty. Or, at best, reaching. Clearly, it is better to not have a Coke, and reduce calorie intake than to treat yourself to a drink after exercising and nullify the caloric benefit of the workout.

Worse is that the soft drinks are bad calories, in that there is a large sugar content. Says Michele Simon, a public health lawyer and author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines our Health and How to Fight Back: “It’s so clever on so many levels, but it’s twisted, too.”

Twisted, but effective. Coca-Cola marketing executives are happy with results. Ad viewers are making the emotional connection that they would exercise more if they treated themselves to a soft drink afterward. They take the logic to heart. The result: higher Coke sales.

So possibly we can learn from Coke. If the maker can say drinking Coke is good because it encourages you to exercise, dry cleaners can say dry-cleaned garments make a customer feel better: Because the drycleaning process adds body and form to outfits so that they fit better, you look better. As a result, you are more comfortable, confident and secure. In other words, regular drycleaning makes you feel good about yourself.

Clearly, this benefit is reaching a bit, but no more than the Coca-Cola boast. So why not try a new approach to your marketing? Focus on the “feel-goodness” and ego-boosting of dry cleaning.

Consider this ad message: Feel great in dry-cleaned clothes. There is something about dry-cleaned outfits that makes you feel like a million bucks. Just ask customer Mel: “When I put on my dry-cleaned business suit, I feel I can close any deal I set my mind on. I radiate confidence.”

Here are some other examples:

  • Sarah is a customer who regularly dry-cleans all her clothes with us. “There’s something about a freshly dry-cleaned outfit that gives me confidence and comfort. I love to be out and about. It does wonders for my self-esteem.”
  • Is he or is he not wearing dry-cleaned clothes? Yes, he is. I can tell by the crisp crease lines, the full-bodied look, the bright colors, and the well-formed collar. He looks good, and it shows. He’s willing to spend a few extra bucks on his clothes, and it reflects in his confident manner.
  • Women who care enough to look their very best make sure their clothes are dry-cleaned. Their dresses contour the body. The ruffles sway in perfect symmetry. The buttons are smartly set. The blouse material is so crisp. Ooh la la—today’s women of the world are so…so…je ne sais quoi.
  • He looks like he was a military man. So straight, so tall, so authoritative. That suit fits him perfectly. The pale blue shirt is so soft, the tornado red tie so compelling. What an ensemble! No wonder his 7-year-old suit still looks perfect—He regularly dry-cleans it. Do you treat your clothes to such care?
  • If you spend good money on your clothes, you should be willing to keep them fresh and groomed through regular dry cleaning. Nothing keeps clothes looking new like dry cleaning. Plus, they last longer because you care more about them. So even on a dollars-and-cents basis, dry cleaning pays.

Each ad would be headed by an appropriate headline, such as “Feel great in dry-cleaned outfits,” “Feel like a million bucks,” or “You look better dry-cleaned.” Underneath the ad goes a photograph of an attractive person who is dressed to kill. In the body of the ad, provide copy to accompany the photo, possibly something like the suggestions I’ve shared.

Make the connection that dry cleaning your clothes is an ego boost. If there is space, provide three reasons for choosing your shop, such as:

  • Convenient hours
  • Open seven days a week
  • Been in business 50 years
  • Five convenient locations
  • Pickup and delivery service
  • The most advanced, sophisticated stain-removal service in the region
  • Same-day service

Such an ad focus can be used on brochures, e-mail promotions, mailings, or online videos, whatever marketing approaches you are involved in. The main point is that dry cleaning not only cleans your clothes, it restores them so that they look new, look better and, in effect, make you look better. This in turn boosts your confidence and makes you happier.

Who would have thought that dry cleaning makes you happy? Well, now it does. Every time the customer takes garments to the dry cleaner, she will be spending money. But it will be worth it because it will make her feel better. So dry cleaning is a feel-good proposition.

Consider a billboard with an advertisement for your business. It could feature an attractive man and woman, smiling confidently, with the headline: Dry cleaning makes you feel great about yourself. It’s a bold statement, and possibly a leap, but no bigger than the Coke ad.

Consider other ways to promote your new message. When your counterperson hands out orders, she might say, “Your clothes will look so perfect on you, you’ll feel like a million bucks,” or “Nothing like freshly cleaned clothes to make you feel great.” Such an enigmatic comment might be a little puzzling at first, but over time the customer will pick up on the idea that dry-cleaned clothes make one feel good.

I wrote this column to get you thinking expansively about promotional efforts. The Coke campaign shows that you can make extravagant boasts. To be sure, there’s some level of truth to the claim that wearing dry-cleaned clothes makes one feel better about themselves and is ego-boosting. So, be bold in your marketing approach.

Promote the intangible benefits. Consider an emotional appeal that will entice your customer. Anything else—price; pickup and delivery; high quality; convenient hours and locations—are time-worn offers. A visceral response is what you’re after.

If Coca-Cola can do it, so can you.

About the author

Howard Scott

Industry Writer and Drycleaning Consultant

Howard Scott is a former business owner, longtime industry writer and drycleaning consultant. He welcomes questions and comments and can be reached by writing Howard Scott, Dancing Hill, Pembroke, MA 02359; by calling 781-293-9027; or via e-mail at [email protected].


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