The WWII American Bomber Called ‘Yo-Yo’.

‘Nose art’ on American bombers. Planes competed with each other to get their identity across and promote individualism. In that way they were a bit like brands.
‘Nose art’ on American bombers. It’s how pilots stated their own identity and promoted  individualism. Hmm … sounds a bit like what we do in branding, doesn’t it?

‘Three Cads and a Lad’

‘Sad Sack’.

‘Da Poiple Boid’.

They’re names of American WWII bombers that appeared as ‘nose art’ on B-17s, B-24s and B-29s.

Airborne individualism is what you might call it. Art rendered on metal rather than canvass.

Each pilot arriving in England had the opportunity to choose a name and a graphic design for his plane.

It helped raise the spirit of aircrews in a role that was one of the riskiest of the war.

Riskier maybe than gutting it out in a foxhole under heavy shelling.

As many as 60 bombers in a mission went down to attacking German Messerschmitts and flak towers bristling with 88-millimeter anti-aircraft guns.

60 Bombers could equate to 600 men killed.

You can’t miss the fact that ‘nose art’ communicates as a storytelling element.

For some planes it reflected a pilot’s background, for others it mirrored a pilot’s disposition, desires, hopes, fears or attitude to the enemy.

As to the last, there was a bomber called ‘Cyanide for Hitler.’

You might say that’s prophetic as Hitler used cyanide to kill himself.

If only ‘Cyanide for Hitler’ had gotten to him early in the war. Like in the dark days of 1940.

Now … ‘Da Poiple Boid’?

You pronounce it and it becomes The Purple Bird.

Here you get the full brunt of a New York accent from a crew from Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island and Long Island.

Sorry… make that Lawnguyland

When you think of it, these names are examples of branding.

They’re differentiators and they’re meant to engage and communicate a message.

Still, as brands they don’t go far enough … save possibly for ‘Cyanide for Hitler’.

Because they tell you what the plane is, not what it can do for you.

In branding terms you get the features, not the benefits.

Alternatively, there was a bomber that stood apart when it came to branding:



‘It always comes back’.


How’s that for a benefit?

Isn’t that the bomber you’d choose if Messerschmitts were on you tail?

Here’s a thought on your own efforts as per ‘nose art’.

Next time you review new content from your agency, take ‘Yo-Yo’ as your guide.

Ensure your messaging can engage people by going from features to benefits.

That way your focus is in the right place … on the pain points and opportunities for your customers and prospects.

After all, the ‘features-features-features’ message doesn’t exactly make you the smartest choice in your category.

So to be better able to compete, ensure your content is strong on product advantages.

That way you’re more likely to stop people and lengthen their attention spans.

Anything less and you could end up like the pilot of ‘Da Poiple Boid’.

Merely telling people what your product is … not what it can do for them.



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