“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
— Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride

Let’s switch things up and START with the contest first, shall we?

So, if you’re like me, you probably see that and think: “how can that other ad lose? It’s way more specific and credible on both price and turnaround time! What gives?”

And that’s where you have to understand Inigo Montoya’s Secret: sometimes words don’t mean what you think they mean.

In this contest, the word “custom” most likely doesn’t draw the same mental picture in the mind of the reader as it conjures in the mind of the ad writer. To the ad writer, custom means “your design,” as in “you design it and we’ll print it.”

But custom can mean a lot of things. Nike supposedly sells custom shoes, but that doesn’t mean that you send in a last (aka mold of your foot) and they custom shape the shoe to exactly match your foot. Nor does it mean that they’ll build any shoe you design.

For Nike, custom means you get to pick out the color combinations (from a limited selection of colors) for a shoe they already make, and then they’ll monogram or inscribe the shoe with your chosen initials/name/wording.

So is it inconceivable that a cynical audience might think that a supposedly “custom” post card might be a “We’ll let you customize a design with picked out colors and wording.”

Or “we choose the paper stock and quality of ink/prining and you pick out the design within some very restricted parameters?

Of course it could.

And that’s were the winning ad’s “Upload a Design or Design Online” helps to eliminate any and all doubt. Uploading your own design means “custom” in an unambiguous way — something that Booster, cshen, expertly leveraged to produce a 491% increase in CTR!

Bottom Line: different words can mean different things to different people — make sure you phrase your ads to leave no doubt around your most important sales propositions.