Any Talk Is Good Talk… A Lesson in Advertising

Keeping your company name or product in front of people is the key to strong sales. I once learned a valuable lesson about the positive effect that any type of notoriety can have where advertising and marketing is concerned. I’d like to close out the month of July with a brief account of an experience that taught me a great deal about advertising and why you never want to look a gift horse in the mouth… even when it may not appear to be much of a gift at the outset.

Many years ago I worked for Jeep Corp. and while arriving to visit a local dealer I couldn’t help but notice a brand new Jeep Wagoneer parked across the street in a vacant lot. The reason I couldn’t help but notice it was due to the fact that mounted to its roof was a 4×8 sheet of plywood, painted green with white lettering that read “Another Hollingsworth Jeep Lemon.” To accentuate the sentiment, the owner had pasted cut outs of large yellow lemons all over the sign. I had to admit that he was pretty creative and it was all fairly well done.

Entering the dealership I spotted the entire sales crew peering at the “lemon” through the front showroom glass. I engaged the general manager in conversation and he related that the customer had burned up his automatic transmission, twice, due to towing a very large saltwater fishing boat after refusing their advice to install an auxiliary transmission cooler.

I asked him what he intended to do about it.  He quickly exclaimed, “What am I going to do about it? I’ll tell you what I’m going to do about it – I’m going to call the newspaper and see if we can get this in the afternoon edition!”

With a puzzled look on my face I inquired as to why he would want to further expose his dealership to such bad publicity. Then he said something that I’ve never forgotten… “There is no such thing as bad publicity. Any talk is good talk, just as long as they’re talking.” And then he added this, “We’re going to move a lot of cars this week. We’re going to set a new sales record. Wait and see.”

And you know what? They did.

“Any talk is good talk, just as long as they’re talking.”

The owner of the “lemon” eventually saw the positive effect his display was having and decided to remove his vehicle. The general manager of the dealership sent him a thank you note for the tremendous sales boost and, I was told, kept the man on his Christmas card list for many years afterwards.

Tom Kirkman



  1. Bob Balcombe on August 13, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Tom you know me as the guy who can’t spell crep LOL In all seriousness I believe Rod Maker has turned the world of hobby rod building up side down. I can remember in the early 70’s no one shared a single word of advice. The first information that was of any use to me came from Fenwick Rods, built in Kent and at that time was owned by a great man named Green, He also opened Sage after selling Fenwick. He was the first man to take the time to help me. Then came Dale Clemon’s with his book Fiber Glass Rod Building which was followed up with Advanced Rod building and Thread Art. Now by the mid 80’s someone has published a pamphlet of some kind. Of all the info books on rod building some were written in the late 1800′ or early 1900. With all that none have come close to Tom’ mag or His book on rod building. I know I have left a few publishers out I am sorry for that reason that happened is because you guys are advanced builders. I was talking about how I learned the craft and who was a major influence on me. Thanks Tom Tom your RodMaker Mag. was a major influence on the success of my rod building business, from a garage to a store front. I retired in 2000, but I still build rods
    Thank and Good Wraps Bob

  2. geoff on September 14, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    geez i can relate to that… very well said. excellent advice.