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I want to share a story with you.

I was born in Pittsburgh but grew up in Chicago. After flitting about the country throughout most of my 20s and 30s, I had an opportunity to move back to Pittsburgh to take a promotion for work. Our sales force was expanding and I took over a newly created sales team that covered the PA and upstate NY region.

We were living in a beautiful suburb of Pittsburgh called Cranberry Township – gave me perfect access to freeways going north and south and the PA turnpike going east and west – so I can easily get where I need to go. Just me, my wife and our two sons Connor & Owen.

The facts of the following story are true. I remember them so clearly for reasons that will soon become abundantly clear (I hope).

So, we’re a typical suburban family – driving in a minivan with the two kids strapped like fighter pilots safely in their child safety seats, because safety is a significant concern dontcha know. I am a concerned parent. Concern is part of my job description. One of the things I excel at is rapidly assessing a situation and seeing all the safety issues that may present problems for my kids (ask my wife – its part sickness and part sixth sense).

There we are, driving along on our way to the local IKEA for a shopping binge…and I get to thinking to myself…you know Connor’s getting to that age where he should probably know his “personal information”…I mean what if he was snatched? What if he was kidnapped? What if he was lost some day? Would he even KNOW where he lives? Could he find his way home???????

At this point, I’ve completely worked myself into a tizzy in my mind.

Without hesitation, out of the blue, I ask out loud:

Hey Connor? Do you know your phone number?

Sure I do dad?

What is it?

It’s 1-800-999-2626

In my head, I’m thinking…no, that’s not our number. But it is familiar. Hmmmm. Where have I heard that before? I KNOW I’ve heard that number before. But where? Oh, yeah! I remember!

Now, what you need to know is that my job was calling on lawyers, so I was very familiar with this law firm and this ad. But my 3.5 year old son? He had NO reason to be familiar with this. I had never talked about this firm in front of him. But these ads were EVERYWHERE on local TV. And I mean everywhere. They were one of the two biggest law firm TV spenders in the area, and the only one with an obnoxious ad like this that also repeated the phone number multiple times.

Another great example of advertising repetition burning a whole in your brain is a local Chicago carpet company. Ask ANYONE that grew up in Chicago to dial Empire and they’ll not only tell you the number, they’ll Sing it!

I know it’s crazy, but if you can afford to do it (or find creative ways to get it done without TV), the power if repetition can propel your business info the stratosphere.

What ads do you remember from your childhood? Post a link in the comments section below.

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Sean McGinnis

Director, Digital Marketing at Sears Parts Direct
Sean McGinnis is Director, Digital Marketing at Sears Parts Direct. He is also a (digital strategist, blogger, consultant ) and public speaker. You can find Sean on