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Top 8 Ways to Make Your Marketing Messages Great

So Rice Crispies actually do not "help support your child's immunity" as formerly claimed in the Kellogg Company ads. Wow, a tasty cereal doesn't act like a wonder vaccine? Stunning.

The Federal Trade Commission did some fact checking about assertions made in Rice Crispies' ads and the government agency didn't like what they found. As a result, the FTC has enacted new restrictions under a settlement regarding health claims the company made about its Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal.

Kellogg is barred from making claims about the benefits to cognitive health, process or function provided by any cereal or morning food or snack unless the claims are true and substantiated by the FTC.

You have a good product. Why not focus on that instead of making false claims that your target audiences would most likely ignore anyway? Health conscious adults would probably choose something other than Rice Crispies. The kids eating the cereal could care less about immunizations and the Moms who make most of the food purchases probably laughed off the claims as hyperbole.

While the Rice Crispies messaging was a bit off the mark, Kellogg's has a proud history of memorable story telling. Here are 8 Messaging "Musts" to help you tell your story in a similar manner:

• Drill Down--Focus on key target markets with the greatest potential. Kellogg's knows to target kids and Moms for many of their products.

• Simplify Your Message--Commit to one big idea. Healthy? Tasty? Fun? Unbelievable.

• Make it Memorable--Touch emotions and capture people's attention. Frosted Flakes. They're Grrreat!

• Less is More. Less graphics and copy, more white space. Look at the cover of the Cheez It box.

• Admit Weaknesses--People usually know or figure them out anyway. In the case of helping "support your child's immunity," Moms are skeptical of "too good to be true" statements.

• Make It About Them--Speak their language, in their terms. "Nutri-Grain Bars. Eat Better All Day."

• Tell Stories--The Special K Challenge campaign tells real stories about real people improving their lives.

• Don't Exaggerate! Focus on the true strengths of your product (Frosted Flakes -- Taste Grreat; Nutri-Grain Bars help you eat better), service or company and leave the hyperbole to your competitors.

Last but not least, Leggo my Eggo...

David M. Mastovich, MBA, is the president of Massolutions, a Pittsburgh based Strategic Marketing firm that focuses on improving the bottom line for client companies through creative marketing, selling, messaging and customer experience enhancement.