Can you guess which ad captured this week’s Win of the Week? Take your best guess:


So, normally, I might guess that the clearance for 2011 models might work better, as the anticipated sales price on those older models might lend a bit more credibility to the “clearance” claim.


But the “sales event” ad (AKA Ad A) was the actual winner, and by a hug percentage — 300%, to be exact.




Well, we’ll get to that in a line-by-line breakdown, but mostly it has to do with “The Curse of Knowledge,” which means the tendency of knowledgeable people to assume that knowledge in others, especially in a broader audience.


For example, everybody knows what a sale is. Are you quite sure that everyone knows what a clearance is? And even if YOU know that model year 2013 cars come out in the fall, are you sure that everyone knows that, or would 2012 Model cars seem like a great deal on a current model year car?


See what I mean? So let’s look at these two ads line by line:




The winning ad promotes a “Toyota Sales Event,” which assumes no knowledge of the car business and is easily understood by everyone. The losing ad declares a “Toyota Final Clearance,” which could be seen as an attempt to sell unwanted cars, rather than a sale on desirable vehicles.


The First Line of Body Copy


Frankly, the first line of body copy is a toss-up with only one major exception: the winning ad is plugging 2012 models and the losing ad is plugging 2011 models. But it’s a huge difference. People searching on new car sales actually want to buy new cars and 2011 models seem too old, and they’re unwilling to believe that they’d get a steep enough discount on them to make it worth it.


The Second Line of Body Copy


The winning ad proclaims “Reduced Prices on All Toyotas,” as in everything on the lot is for sale, whether it’s a clearance item or not.


In contrast, the losing ad asks you to “Buy Today at Clearance Prices,” implying that only the 2011 models are actually on sale. This isn’t so much a “curse of knowledge” sort of thing as a “curse of unintended implications” sort of thing, as I doubt that the write of the losing ad intended to imply that it was ONLY the 2011 models that were on sale. Still, it boils down to the same thing in terms of the value of “an outside perspective.”


Beating the Curse of Knowledge


There are a couple of things you can do to beat the “Curse of Knowledge,” but the most effective is to get someone outside your field to read your ads for feedback, or even to take a stab at writing some of your ads. Obviously, hiring BoostCTR is one way to do that, but there are a number of others.


Sometimes just getting someone from another department can be helpful. How about letting the guys in the shipping department take a stab at writing some ads? Or one of the sales guys?


Or how about having your kid read the ad and ask questions?


Lots of options, why not try a few of them?