# DON’T JUST SAY IT – DO IT

I watched a video by Tatiana Erukhimova, a Russian professor at Texas A&M University.

She was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society “for developing and disseminating innovative physics education programmes for college students and the public.”

What she does is make complicated-sounding concepts simple and accessible to everyone.

In front of a group of children she demonstrated how gravity works.

First she held up a bicycle wheel by the axle that goes through the hub.

She said to the children, “What do you think will happen if I let one hand go?”

They yelled out, “The wheel will fall.

She said “Let’s see if you’re right.”

She let go one side and sure enough that side fell.

Then she spun the wheel very fast and said “But what if I spin the wheel, what will happen if I let go?”

She let go one side and the spinning wheel stayed upright, it didn’t fall.

The children gasped, and she said, “That is gravity, like a gyroscope, the spinning makes it balance like the earth.”

Next she held a potato in mid-air, she lowered the point of a knife into it.

She held the knife with the potato stuck on the end, she took a hammer in her other hand.

She said, “What will happen if I hit the knife with the hammer?”

The children shouted, “The potato will fall off.”

She said, “Let’s see if you are right”, and she hit the knife with the hammer.

The potato was totally unsupported in mid-air, but the knife began to go through it.

Again the children gasped as she said, “That is inertia, the knife is moving but the potato is not, so the knife goes through the potato.”

Finally she took a lightbulb, she said “What will happen if I stand on the lightbulb?”

The children shouted, “It will break.”

She said, “Yes it will, but what if I screw it into a board with two other bulbs?”

She screwed it into a wooden board and all three bulbs lit up.

Then she turned the board upside-down and stood on it, none of the bulbs broke.

Again, the children gasped as she said, “That is distributing the weight so no one object supports the burden all on its own.”

Three great, simple, demonstrations that make complicated concepts much clearer.

I think the very best advertising does that.

Think of Ed McCabe’s ad for Volvo where, to prove how strong the hardtop was, he had 5 Volvos balanced on top of a single Volvo hardtop.

Think of David Abbott’s ad for Volvo where, to show how easily it started in cold weather, he had it frozen inside an entire block of ice.

Think of the Union Carbide ad for insulation where they enclosed a chick in an insulated container and dropped it into boiling water over a flame, and it emerged unscathed.

Think of the Crown-Corning ad for glass saucepans, to demonstrate their resistance to heat, they melted an aluminium saucepan inside a glass one.

Think of the German tank demonstration where, to illustrate the self-levelling gun, they put a pint of beer on the barrel then drove it over an obstacle course without spilling a drop.

Think of the Ambi-Pur air-freshener ad, they have a blindfolded cat next to a fish, it can’t smell the fish until they take the air freshener away.

Think of Ray Charles talking about loving the taste of Diet Pepsi, someone slips him a Diet Coke, he takes one sip and says, “Okay, who’s the wise guy?

Think of the Parker Pen press ad where, an ordinary felt tip can’t write after the top is left offover lunch, but the Parker Pen still writes perfectly when it’s left off overnight.

Think of the Clarkes’ shoes ad, where the child’s foot has china-graph marks drawn on it to show exactly where a shoe must fit, before the shoe appears over the marks.

Think of the Mobil ad that demonstrates the dangers of fast driving by pushing a car off a roof, so it hits the ground at 50 mph.

All of these, and many more of the very best ads, don’t just tell you what the product does, they show it.

A simple demonstration works much better than a claim.

Like the old advertising maxim: “Don’t tell me you’re a comedian, make me laugh.”