I just met a HUGE goal, largely due to a relentless advertising campaign I’ve been waging on myself for the last couple of years. Two years ago purchasing a motorhome seemed impossible. By last month it felt inevitable. Today I have a new RV sitting in my driveway. I’m completely convinced advertising is what made the difference.
(Hold on – I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not like that! This one is small, cute, and gets good gas mileage. )
The ad campaign
This was my earliest, longest-running, and arguably most successful ad campaign. It mostly just used brute repetition; for at least 500 days between October 2005 and March 2007 I showed myself a picture of an RV several times every day. I made sure there was always a picture of the rig we currently thought we wanted in my Google Sidebar slideshow. At various times I also put pictures of it in my Hipster PDA, my screensaver slideshow, and on the refrigerator. I even gave an RV to my avatar. The picture you see on this page is a card I printed in 2005 for my Hipster PDA. The illustration for Widgets and gadgets and klips (oh my!) was another early ad for this campaign.
As time passed and I kept seeing these pictures every day, the idea of owning an RV became increasingly more familiar. In retrospect I think that familiarity was really important.
While a lot of other ideas came and went during that period of time, the ads motivated me to keep taking one more step forward on the RV project. They seemed to have the ability to:
- generate, focus and amplify my desire
- move my thinking forward in relationship to the goal
- sustain my attention span over a long period of time
I had conceived of buying an RV as a possible solution to achieve some really important objectives about health, recreation and connection. What I think the ad campaign did was keep that gestalt of priorities/solution in my consciousness. Or rather, it kept returning my attention to that gestalt. In spite of many competing distractions over many months, the ads kept nudging me with reminders about the goal of owning an RV, which in turn prompted me to take the many small actions that finally led to its realization.
Obstacles and difficulties
I’ve been the lab rat for all of the TBYB experiments and am continually amazed by how well these techniques work. I think this campaign was particularly notable because the RV was such a big goal, and because that goal seemed so far off. In fact, early on there were several good reasons why achieving this goal was impossible. It not only felt ridiculously out of reach financially, but none of the rigs I liked would fit in my small driveway and perhaps most importantly, my partner didn’t want one! But I didn’t worry about those things. I just kept focussing on the parts I could do something about and used frequent ads to remind myself that it was a priority.
I noticed that rather than worrying about whether achieving this large goal was possible I just kept identifying and taking small steps that were easily within my reach. For example, I’d often stop to pick up a free local weekly paper to check the RV ads, or do online research to figure out what we wanted. I also:
- Attended an RV show
- Visited dealerships
- Attended an RV club event
- Watched rvtraderonline and craigslist
It’s interesting to me to note that even though the price tag on this project seemed hopelessly, unattainably high, after advertising about the idea for about a year I began to have ideas about where I might find that kind of money.
In March of this year I thought my dream had come true. After looking at hundreds of RVs online and dozens in person, I drove several hundred miles to buy a used rig that we both loved. We were so excited! Tragically, I discovered mold in the walls a few weeks later, and we eventually had to abandon that rig due to health problems.
From March to September I did not advertise. I was very discouraged by the loss of our first rig and distracted by some really intense family events over the summer. However by that time the idea that we would own an RV was so deeply embedded in my consciousness it was apparently no longer necessary to advertise. Even though I had stopped the ad campaign and was thinking about other things, the passion and inner certainty that had developed over the course of the previous year and a half remained at the same level all summer. We bought a new Roadtrek on September 3rd.
Following is a chronology of my RV ad campaign. Lest you think advertising to yourself is too much work let me assure you that I’ve done plenty of ads advocating for smaller goals that used just one or two of these methods. I include the details about this campaign to illustrate how I used advertising to achieve a really big nearly impossible thing in my life. Notice how many of the steps below were things I could do without knowing how I was going to resolve the impossible parts.
Unless otherwise noted the term “slideshow” refers to the Google Sidebar Photos gadget.
- Early 2005 – Talked about getting an RV sometime in the future and attended an RV show.
- Oct 2005 – Printed Hipster PDA cards with exterior and interior photos of Roadtrek Adventurous.
- May 2006 – Put Adventurous photos in slideshow.
- May 2006 – Signed up to visit an RV club event to see if it would be fun. Put picture of campground for that event in my slideshow.
- June 2006 – Visited several RV dealers and had a saleman take our photo in the Adventurous.
- June 2006 – Added another Adventurous photo to slideshow.
- June 2006 – Added floorplan of FunFinder trailer to slideshow.
- July 2006 – Added picture of Roadtrek Popular to slideshow.
- July 2006 – Attended RV club event.
- August 2006 – Added photos of Provan Tiger to slideshow.
- September 2006 – Photoshopped Tiger into picture of our driveway.
- December 2006 – Printed Tiger photo and posted on the refrigerator.
- January 2007 – Added dog’s photo to the refrigerator to activate positive association.
- February 2007 – Visited RV dealers to look at Roadtrek Adventurous and Winnebago View.
- November 2006 – Changed my Yahoo avatar to include an RV in the background.
- March 2007 – Visited dealers with partner to show Winnebago View.
- March 2007 – Looked online for more affordable models with similar characteristics. Joined online group for Toyota RVs. Actively monitored used models on craigslist.org and rvtraderonline.com for used Toyotas.
- March 2007 – Made an offer on a used Toyota Sunrader but did not get it. Put interior and exterior photos of that rig in screensaver slideshow.
- March 2007 – Drove several hundred miles to look at another used Toyota and bought it.
- April 2007 – Drove it home.
- May 2007 – Discovered mold while preparing for first camping trip.
- June 2007 – Sold at a huge loss.
- July-August 2007 – Discouraged and distracted.
- September 2007 – Bought a new Roadtrek SS-Agile.
- 4 ads that created quantum leaps in my RV campaign
- Use ads to focus on the outcome you want
- Play dress-up with your avatar
- The psychology of persuasion – liking
- Hipster PDA version
- How to rotate picture ads with the Google Photos gadget
- Rotate your ads with a screensaver slideshow
- Refrigerator makeover update: who could say no to that face?
- Extreme makeover – refrigerator edition
- How to download and print pictures