Advertising the Exclamation Point

Prior to the late 1950s, the exclamation point was alive and well in advertising.

If we look back to 1940s war era, grabbing the public’s attention was of utmost importance, since the war effort was in dire need of help from men and women alike. Enter: the exclamation point (or mark, whichever you prefer).

Because it’s patriotic!

Because it’s patriotic!

We’re not guilting you at all!

We’re not guilting you at all!

Commerce is alive and well back home!

Commerce is alive and well back home!

After the war, America was in a good place to start amassing wealth again—namely with spending on cars and toys for the kids.

Interjections fuel our lives!

Interjections fuel our lives!

You can do it all when you rent a Chevrolet!

You can do it all when you rent a Chevrolet!

No guilt trip here, dad!

No guilt trip here, dad!

It wasn’t until around 1959 when we started to see the power of the period again, namely with the Doyle Dane Bernbach “Think Small” Volkswagen campaign.

Simple. Just right.

Simple. Just right.



Marketing is being pushed in a more subtle direction, with native advertising and content marketing becoming more common as audiences grow dissatisfied with overwrought sales pitches. Hyped-up ad copy reads like ad copy. Hardly anyone wants to see that.
— http://bizbuzzcreative.com/exclamation-points-advertising/

The exclamation point has had steady appearances since then, but lately we’ve been seeing the preference for periods to get across a poignant statement—and often no period at all.

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“Yours, until opened.”  Print campaign by David, Argentina for Don Satur, 2017.

“Yours, until opened.”

Print campaign by David, Argentina for Don Satur, 2017.

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Wieden + Kennedy for Nike, 2018.

Wieden + Kennedy for Nike, 2018.

If Nike’s goal with its Colin Kaepernick ad was to get attention, mission accomplished. The sports retail giant has stolen the spotlight in the sports world and beyond with the ad, which is largely seen as Nike supporting National Football League players kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequalities.
— https://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/assessing-fallout-good-bad-nike-s-kaepernick-ad/314809/

Imagine this ad with an exclamation point. How would that change the message for you?