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BlogOne-Minute MarketerEvery Car Dealer and Gas Station Knows We are Bad at Math

Every Car Dealer and Gas Station Knows We are Bad at Math

We all say gas is $1.89 rather than round up, even when gas is actually $1.899. It’s just a penny, right?  Doesn’t matter, right? Just imagine all those .09 pennies lined up mile after mile down the road. Double Cheese and Bacon Cheeseburger

In the U.S. we are bad at math. There is a famous advertising story from the 1980s that is being resurrected in a new book called “Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works,” by Elizabeth Green.

She retells the story of Americans thinking a 1/4 pound hamburger is larger than a 1/3 pound burger. A&W released the 1/3 pound burger to compete with the quarter-pounder from McDonald’s. It didn’t work, so A&W ordered focus groups and testing. In a Yankelovich focus group, people said, “Why should we pay the same amount for a third of a pound of meat as we do for a quarter-pound of meat at McDonald’s? You’re overcharging us.”

The owner of A&W in the 1980s said, “The customer, regardless of his or her proficiency with fractions, is always right.” The great lesson is being abundantly clear and loud and literal in your marketing. Unfortunately, McDonald’s eventually had to offer the Angus Third Pounders. Fail.


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With almost 30 years’ experience, AMPERAGE didn’t hire Mark … Mark hired AMPERAGE. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. As one of our fearless leaders (and our go-to sommelier), Mark works tirelessly to solve the complex puzzle that is “communication.” He’s written a whole book about it. If Mark were a dog, he’d be an Australian shepherd, consistently herding and providing direction to the AMPERAGE flock. Aussies also have two different colored eyes, which Mark thinks is great. Mark moves the needle by digging into research, background and persona for clients. It is from that solid foundation that he can empower clients to build large branded houses.