"When a man puts on this authentic French farmer's shirt he may very well find that his hands look bigger....Is that woman over there giving him the eye and nodding toward the haystack? Yes, and he knows what to do" - John Peterman
In the mid-1990's John Peterman found a horsman's duster in England that he thought would sell like hotcakes in the U.S. He bought a zillion of them, and ran a teeny ad in The New Yorker that had a drawing of the shirt, and that copy below it.
He quickly sold out.
Because of a rotator cuff injury, Peterman was now a washed up second baseman for the Pirates, and lived in Lexington, Kentucky.
He took the horseman's duster experience, and collected other unrelated items that amused him, wrote more amusing descriptions, and put together a small black and white catalog. There were no photographs -- just a pen and ink drawing of the item with Peterman's description under it.
Steinfeld liked the wacky catalog so much, that J. Peterman and his catalog became a regular incidental subject on his show.
Interestingly, before I had seen Mr. Peterman's New Yorker ad or his catalog, I wrote, in a somewhat similar style, descriptions of my for sale properties for my company's ads.
Mr. Peterman and I corresponded for awhile about our copy, and then he and his company fell on hard times, primarily because he grew faster than his financing and cash flow could support.
The other day, his "Early Spring 2017" catalog came unannounced in our mail. He's back to his old tricks. Welcome back, John!
Meanwhile, as I read the huge number of real estate ads ("It's a must see!") that are tired and uncreative, I wonder why there aren't more with J. Peterman influencing the copy?
Soon, I'm going to tell you how an advertising gimmick I dreamed up became the most read piece in a local paper, and resulted in me writing columns that ended with me writng a book that sold thousands of copies.
Thanks to J. Peterman.
BILL CHERRY, REALTOR