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Keep it Simple, Stupid: 23 Examples of Simplicity in Marketing

Samuel Hum
Samuel Hum
December 4, 2014
2 min read
Keep it Simple, Stupid: 23 Examples of Simplicity in Marketing


Sometime last year, we wrote a post about Chip and Dan Heath’s “Made to Stick”, exploring 6 different ways to make your marketing message more memorable:

  1. S - Simple
  2. U - Unexpected
  3. C - Concrete
  4. C - Credible
  5. E - Emotional
  6. S - Stories

In this new series of posts, we’ll be providing you with real-life examples for each principle.

Let's start things off with the principle of Simplicity in marketing.

According to Dan and Chip Heath in Made to Stick, some stories are memorable because they only contain one or two core messages. This prevents us from getting confused by unnecessary details.

Making your message simple means prioritizing a single core message; not dumbing things down. You can then utilize general analogies (every Disney employee is a Cast Member) or familiar schemas (Alien is like Jaws in Space) to make your message easier to understand.

The examples listed below communicate their brand/product idea so well that no explanations are required:


1. Ministry of Supply’s coffee-infused ATLAS sock - “like a Brita filter in your shoe”

Ministry of Supply's Kickstarter campaign for their ATLAS sock
Ministry of Supply's Kickstarter campaign for their ATLAS sock

“Atlas is like a Brita Filter for your feet: made of Coffee it filters and absorbs sweat and odor.”

2. Clever Travel Companion - 100% pick-pocket proof clothing

Clever Travel Companion Simple Referralcandy

Going on a trip? Clever Travel Companion’s anti-theft products are all you need to keep your belongings safe.

3. My Little Black Dress

My Little Black Dress Simple ReferralCandy

Many women waste a lot of time looking for a little black dress when they need one. At, simply buy, receive it, and look fabulous.


4. ZeroUV sunglasses

ZeroUV Simple ReferralCandy

Cheap sunglasses don’t always offer proper UV protection. At ZeroUV, you know what you're paying for- zero UV.

5. WeWood watches

WeWOOD Watches Simple ReferralCandy

Watches made from scrap wood and sustainable forests? We wood, too.

6. Sole Protector - Keeps your soles clean

Sole Protectors Simple ReferralCandy

Every sneakerhead wants to protect his brand-new shoes. Sole Protector helps preserve your shoe sole for as long as possible.

7. Heat Holders - The Warmest Thermal Sock

Heat Holders Simple ReferralCandy

Heat Holders keeps the heat in, so you can stay outdoors longer during the chilly winter seasons.

8. Opena Case - A bottle opener in your iPhone case

Opena Simple ReferralCandy

You might not always have a bottle opener on you, but you’ll always have your phone. With Opena cases, you can kick back and enjoy a beer anytime.

Read next: How Opena Case Hit 189% Of Their $15,000 Kickstarter Target And Built A Million Dollar Business


9. Beardbrand - Style for the urban beardsman

Beardbrand Simple ReferralCandy

Beardbrand isn’t just a store selling scissors and beard oil; it’s a platform made by beardsmen, for beardsmen. Got a beard? Go to Beardbrand.

10. Dollar Shave Club - Shavers for just a dollar a month

Dollar Shave Club Simple ReferralCandy

Alternatively- need to shave, but only got a dollar? Welcome to the Dollar Shave Club.

11. The Period Store - Monthly packages for periods

The Period Store Simple ReferralCandy

The Period Store - your one-stop shop for feeling better during your period.


12. Not Another Bunch of Flowers - Practical gift alternatives

Not Another Bunch of Flowers Simple ReferralCandy

Buying get-well gifts for someone, but don’t want to give impractical stuff like flowers? Not Another Bunch Of Flowers is here to help you pick something that patients can actually use during recovery.

13. StatchTATS

StachTATS Simple ReferralCandy

Ever wanted a temporary tattoo of a moustache? Well, if you ever do...

14. A little something different - Unique novelty gifts for kids

A Little Something Different Simple ReferralCandy

“I want to buy a gift for my nephew, but I’m looking for something a little different.”

There you go.

Sports & Fitness

15. Fit Little Bride - For brides to keep fit before their big day

Fit Little Bride SImple ReferralCandy

For brides-to-be who want to get in shape before their big day.

16. Mud Gear

MudGear Simple ReferralCandy

Do you need some gear that will withstand some gruelling obstacles in the mud?

17. Drink Water - A movement to promote drinking water

Drink Water Simple ReferralCandy

Thirsty after your workout? Don’t drink energy drinks; drink water instead.

Further reading: Check out how Vans has used skateboarding culture to market their footwear!


18. Doggles - Goggles for dogs

Doggles Simple ReferralCandy

Because your dogs look more awesome in sunglasses as well.

19. Feed and Go - Automated pet feeder

FeedandGo Simple ReferralCandy

You having a busy schedule shouldn’t be a reason why your pets don’t get fed on time. Pet supplies and pet stores can have huge customer loyalty too.

20. Kurgo - Go together

Kurgo Simple ReferralCandy

With Kurgo, your pets can now go everywhere with you, instead of being stuck at home. (The logo tells you everything you need to know about the product!)

Food & Beverages

21. Old Smokey Grills

Old Smokey Simple ReferralCandy

Old Smokey Grills - providing you with smokey and powerful grills since 1923.

22. Personal Trainer Food

Personal Trainer Food Simple ReferralCandy

Personal trainers teach you how to exercise; Personal Trainer Food teaches you how to eat.

23. Paleo to Me - Paleo diet for crossfit gyms

Paleo to Me Simple ReferralCandy

Is preparing paleo meals too much of a hassle? Lazy to go out and eat? Then Paleo to Me is your answer.

Simplicity = Core + Compact

To utilize this principle, focus on those two points:

  • Core - What’s the single, central idea that you want to tell?
  • Compact - How do we make the idea succinct?

The examples above have managed to use their brand names and taglines to communicate the core premise of their brand/products.

Customers are able to infer what is it that they sell simply from their brand names. This becomes incredibly useful when we are constantly experiencing information overload.

Always focus on the core message you’re trying to communicate, and use different means, e.g. analogies/ schemas to help your audience understand easily.

Samuel Hum
Samuel Hum

As a finalist in Esquire's Best Dressed Real Man contest, Samuel is ReferralCandy's fashion eCommerce expert and resident sartorialist. He is obsessed with human behavior, social psychology, and handstands. He is also the lead calisthenics trainer at Weightless.

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