The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

June 8, 2013

Overlooking obvious can rob the world of unique treasures

Keeping the Faith

— Editor’s note: This column by the late Bev Davis originally was published Sept. 24, 2002. Davis passed away Aug. 1, 2010, of a sudden illness.

Advertising sales representatives are taught to focus on the USP  — the unique selling point of a product.

Several years ago, a young sales rep was given the task of coming up with a new slogan for Tide laundry detergent.

After hours of perspiration, irritation and agitation spent in searching for a new angle, the young man poured some of the product out on the table and looked at it carefully.

He noticed numerous tiny blue crystals and asked a supervisor what they were. “Those are the cleaning agents that provide bleach without fading the fabric,” she told him.

The next day, a proud young employee laid his new slogan on the boss’s desk, and it became an instant success. It read, “Get whiter clothes with Tide — now with new, blue crystals.”

He helped a company run a successful ad campaign by simply focusing on something that was already in the product.


We often do that with our most valuable product. It may be a gift, talent or special ability that’s already there, and we’re so accustomed to having it around, we overlook it or take it for granted.

Every day we overlook the obvious — in ourselves and others — and I believe we miss countless blessings because of our blindness.

Take your spouse, for instance. How often do you point out qualities and gifts you admire? Have you come to a point where you see more negative things than positive?

Maybe there are some “new, blue crystals” you’ve been looking at every day but haven’t seen them or pointed them out. Today might be a good time to take a closer look.

How about your kids? They’re growing up really fast, aren’t they? Have you been so busy with work, chores around the house, transporting them to sports, music and dance practice that you haven’t really looked at them lately? Each of your children has a unique selling point. If you discover it, point it out to them and keep reinforcing it; that little blue crystal could be a powerful shaping tool in that child’s life.

Do you have a co-worker or friend who’s never discovered — or has lost sight of  — some unique feature about them? Have you tried to become the catalyst for helping them find it and use it?

For some odd reason, our tendency is to either focus on the negative or not focus at all.

The ad rep’s story provides a good reminder that we should all work harder at looking for the “new, blue crystals” within our selves and in those around us.

Let’s look more for the USP and avoid OTO — overlooking the obvious. The discoveries could be priceless.