What has 5 feet and plays music really loud?

We recognize the familiar: A car with four wheels; a coffee maker with an on/off switch; a football game with two teams in different colored jerseys.

What happens when things are different? When something seems out of the ordinary?

  • Would you turn your head if a car cruised down your street on three wheels?
  • What if your coffee maker had a yes/no/maybe switch?
  • How about your neighborhood football team running out for warm-ups against its rival with the same colored jerseys as their perennial foe?

When events such as these occur in our lives, we remember.  Undoubtedly, we ask ‘why’ and probably want the familiar back. Such anomalies leave indelible marks.


Yamaha: What has a 5th foot.
I didn't hesitate to open this e-mail.


I recently received an e-mail from Yamaha with one of the most intriguing subject lines in recent history: What has a 5th foot. Yamaha took the ‘typical’ and made it ‘atypical’ with this campaign and product design.

We don’t typically look at the legs of our stereo for long periods of time. If you do, we have to talk. Most people probably haven’t given it a second thought since the stereo was unpacked from the box. It turns out that the extra (5th) foot is smack-dab in the middle-bottom of the stereo. According to Yamaha, this ‘added foot’ features “Anti-Resonance Technology designed to greatly improve structural rigidity and reduce vibration”; the result: better sound.

I can’t vouch for the sound quality, nor can I guarantee that this ‘5th leg’ campaign and product feature will cause stereos to fly off the shelves, but I can say unequivocally that this e-mail subject line and copy got me interested. In this ‘always-on, always-everywhere’ world, if you have my interest, you’ve made great progress.

The lesson:
Don’t be different just to be different. Be different to make a point; highlight a benefit; showcase an advantage. Yamaha didn’t just add another appendage to their stereo to win a design award; they made the change to bring us better sound.

If you have a legit reason to be ‘blue’ when all your competitors are ‘red’, then go for it. You might find out that your customers pay attention, open their wallets and help you grow your market share.

One last thing: if you happen to see a football game where both teams have the same color jerseys, let me know; I bet the chaos is legendary.

Until next time,
Dan Naden

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