The title of this post is based on two things: the classic National Lampoon cover, and a mental “exercise” from direct response legend Gary Halbert.

A magazine advertisement for National Lampoon threatening to kill a dog

The cover is self-explanatory, but the mental exercise runs along these lines: “What would I do if I had to write a letter and I had to get someone to respond to it or I would be beheaded literally?”

And the expanded version of the exercise goes on to ask:

1) would I write a full, multi-page letter, or would I try to get away with just a postcard?

2)  Would I send the letter in first class mail, or as part of a “lumpy mail” package, or would I try to get away with bulk postage?

3)  Would I trust a single mailing, or would I plan out a series of mailings?

As you can see, if your (or your pet’s) life was on the line, you’d probably have different answers to those questions than if you were trying to get by on the cheap. And the point is that when it comes to advertising, “you don’t want to buy a ticket half way to Europe,” as the late great David Ogilvy used to say.

And this applies to Facebook Ads every bit as much as it does to any other kid of advertising, direct response or branding. Which is exactly the thought that flashed through my mind when I saw this Facebook Ad on my page:

A Facebook ad for sports related injuries

Yes, the image was disturbing enough to make me read the ad — so good on them for that.

But it left a negative emotional residue on me, and it left me wondering if the Stem Cell part of the treatment was a gimmick. Exactly what WAS Regenexx, anyway?

Well, this small ad didn’t have the space to tell me, and they relied on my interest to click through. But is that REALLY how this advertiser would have played things if they used the “gun to the head” exercise?

Turns out, Regenexx has a pretty good explanatory video about their treatments, and they could have easily run their advertisements as page posts, featuring that video, which you can see below:

Sure, it would have been more expensive, but it undoubdtedly would have lead to better results. Now, the question becomes, would the results have been good enough to justify the added expense? And to get that answer, they’d need to run tests on both kinds of ads.

But the point is to start out going full-bore and dial back to where you get the maximum impact for money spent, rather than cheaping your way into Facebook advertising and concluding that Facebook ads “don’t work.”

Because the most expensive advertising is the kind that gets your dog shot while dumping you out of the plane halfway to Europe.