Boring Craigslist Ads Could Be A Thing Of The Past

That is if Classify Advertising gets its way. Advertising students and professionals are providing their services for free to help jazz up the postings of items for sale on Craigslist.

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The television show "Mad Men" has created a whole lot of drama around the art of advertising.


JON HAMM: (As Don Draper) How do you say ice water in Italian? Hilton. How do you say fresh towels in Farsi? Hilton. How do you say Hamburger in Japanese? Hilton.

GREENE: That's a pitch that leading man Don Draper made on the show to a fictionalized version of Hotel Magnet Conrad Hilton, but let's say you're not pitching an ad campaign to a hotel magnet. What if you just want to sell a slightly used toaster?


Enter Classify Advertising. It's a real-life ad firm created by three students just a few months ago as a way to practice some of what they were learning. Instead of setting their sights on high-end designers or sleek product lines, they were more interested in folks selling their used sofas and bike helmets on Craigslist.

PAT DAVIS: We saw Craigslist as this wasteland of ads that people are desperately searching to get rid of their things, but they don't have the resources maybe to stand out.

GONYEA: Pat Davis is one of Classify's co-founders. Here's the idea, take your average Craigslist ad...

GREENE: Two slice toaster, Black & Decker, $15. Hi there, great condition, sale due to a relocation, please let me know if you have any questions.

GONYEA: And put a little spin on it.

GREENE: Magic toaster turns bread into toast. A million years ago a fireball smashed into Earth wreaking all kinds of havoc on dinosaurs and wholly mammoths. Scientists recently discovered that fireball was a toaster, not just any toaster - a toaster that makes celebrity look-alike toast every once in a while. This thing doesn't need to be plugged in because it makes its own electricity while floating in space. What a shame that it only costs only $15 because it could be in a museum somewhere.

GONYEA: And for the record that toaster did sell. Another memorable item - a children's camera.

DAVIS: We created an ad where a baby was posing for a selfie for bath time and we included a headline that was #bathtime #Yolo and then in our description we had - kids are valuable brands in the making. All they need is an InstaGram account and a Twitter profile to launch them into global recognition. Help your child become the next viral sensation with a $25 investment in their first piece of production equipment.

GONYEA: The camera sold. Davis says a little personality can go a long way on Craigslist. As for the services provided by Classify Advertising they're free.

DAVIS: We're just the creative guys so we probably need someone with a business acumen.

GONYEA: Pat Davis and his partners are just sharing in the joy of finally helping you sell grandma's old sofa. This is NPR News.

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