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The Unique Selling Proposition Defined

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The Unique Selling Proposition Defined

Possibly the three most famous letters in advertising, the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) made great ads and made Rosser Reeves famous. In his book, Reality in Advertising, he laments that the popularity of the USP does not reflect a wide-spread understanding of the term.

He defines the USP in three parts:

1. Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer. Not just words, not just product puffery, not just show-window advertising.  Each advertisement must say to each reader: ‘Buy this product and you will get this specific benefit.

2. The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique — either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising.

3. The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass millions, i.e., pull over new customers to your product.

Reeves recommended thinking of the USP as something the consumer takes from the ad, rather than as something the copywriter puts into the ad.

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