‘The Wizard of Ads’ Category Archives


The Canyon of Wile E. Coytote

by Tony in The Wizard of Ads

Wile E. Coyote is a Mensa genius whose only thought is to catch the Roadrunner. With the unlimited resources of Acme Corporation at Wile E.’s disposal, one might easily consider the Roadrunner doomed. But it never seems to work out that way.

Wile E. Coyote is a victim of overplanning. It is this overplanning, not the Roadrunner, that lands Wile E. at the bottom of the canyon.

Overplanning assumes that a plan can be and should be prepared for every possible contingency. Unfortunately, life doesn’t come in that small a package. It’s easy to respond to actual circumstances, but impossible to respond to imaginary ones.

Overplanning comes naturally to any person with a highly developed intellect and a morbid fear of failure. Western society has placed such a premium on success that few of us can bear the thought of failure. Yet failure is the key to success.

The person most likely to succeed is the one who recognises the temporary nature of failure and consequently has no fear of it –
a person who knows that each failure brings him one step closer to success.

–Roy H. Williams, The Wizard of Ads, #87


A Two-Peso Weather Report

by Tony in The Wizard of Ads

I am standing in the front yard of my close friend Loren Lewis when a blue Cadillac pulls into his driveway. Loren is known as a mechanical genius who has a weird, psychic bond with Cadillacs. Loren shouts to the driver, “Pop the hood and leave it running!” and then begins messing with things in the engine compartment before the man has even gotten out of his car.

While Loren is twisting bolts and pulling wires, the driver introduces himself and begins telling his sad story over Loren’s shoulder. “I’ve had it every place in town and you’re my last hope. This car has been in and out of the shop for the past two months, and I’ve spent more than five hundred dollars to fix the air conditioner, but it still won’t blow cold. No one can figure it out. One of the guys at the dealership suggested I bring it to you, but I don’t want to leave it here unless you’re certain you can fix it.”

Just then, Loren closes the hood and says, “I heard the problem as you were pulling into the drive. Now reach through the window, and stick your hand in front of the vent.”

The man’s eyes widen. He shouts, “It’s ice cold! It’s ice cold!”

“That’ll be fifty dollars,” says Loren.

“What?” exclaims the man. “I’ve only been here three minutes. You can’t charge me fifty dollars for three minutes!”

Loren nods. “You’ve got a point,” he says. He reaches inside the Cadillac, takes the keys out of the ignition, and stuffs them into his pocket. “Follow me,” he says. Inside the house, Loren hands the man the telephone and says, “Call your wife to come pick you up. Your car will be ready in a week.”

David Weisz, a friend of mine with a reputation for artful negotiation, tells his children, “Always negotiate the price of products. Never negotiate the price of services. The services you get for half price are not the same services you get for full price.”

–Roy H. Williams, The Wizard of Ads, #61


The Cocaine of Advertising

by Tony in The Wizard of Ads

Ask your physician how to feel good, and he’ll look you squarely in the eye and say, “Eat right and exercise.” Yet for every dollar spent in fitness centres, Americans spend nineteen dollars on cocaine. The reason? Two seconds after you snort cocaine you feel like Superman. Two weeks of diet and exercise just makes you hungry and sore.

The desire for instant gratification is harmless enough if the only thing it leads you to do is pay higher prices at a convenience store. But heaven help you if you demand instant gratification from your advertising! The business person looking for a financial quick fix will soon discover the cocaine of advertising, a four-letter magic chant:

Sale! Sale! Sale! Sale!

–Roy H. Williams, The Wizard of Ads, #20