Al Ries, one of the all-time great marketing gurus, once told me that successful advertising was, after all the glitz and visuals, a simple matter of positioning. When I told him that I pretty much understood that part of it, he explained to me - in a tone that served to remind me of the Grand Canyon-like chasm that existed between his knowledge and mine - that advertising was, in reality, a battle for "mind" positioning.To hammer home the point, he gave me a copy of his famous 1969 opus on mind positioning in advertising, which he co-wrote with his then-partner, Jack Trout, and which eventually appeared in Advertising Age.

When you recount all the thousands of ad messages you've seen or heard over the course of your life, I'm sure there are several that have had a lasting impact, even decades after they've gone off the air or out of print. As an example, take two TV classics for Alka-Seltzer: "No matter what shape your stomach is in," which aired in 1965, and my personal favorite, "Mama Mia, that's a spicy meatball," which had a memorable run in the spring and summer of 1969 - until factions of Italian-Americans felt it was derogatory and called for it to be pulled off the air.

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