Are You Advertising Your Irrelevance?

When we advertise whether we do it on our own or we pay for a big firm to get us into large media buys, one thing must be certain: You convey a message that can’t be taken any other way than what you intend.

Here’s an example: You wouldn’t pay big bucks for an ad buy for your big-ticket item where the goal was to demonstrate speed yet, within that very commercial one could clearly see a competitor’s product in the background going even faster.

Something like this getting by the agency or the approval committee would warrant heads to roll. Yet, in effect – the very same set up not only gets buy accidentally, but worse, one can tell where such glaring flaws had to have been signed off on.

Here are two examples that have been rolling on my television screen for a while now and every time I see them I just cringe thinking,”Who is the brainiac who thought this was ready for prime time?”

One is local the other is a world brand which proves this happens across all businesses. No one is immune. Only you can help in making sure it doesn’t happen too you. For nothing hurts more, or leaves a scar more visible, than that self-inflicted moment of “Oh man, how did I let that happen?!”

The local ad: We have an ad running for a local eye doctor that for all intents and purposes helps people with a specialty in eye wear: as in glasses. The ad goes on about their selection of frames, their attention to detail in the fit and finish. Then the ad ends with a supposedly satisfied happy customer. However, the happy customer (an attractive young lady) in an isolated shot looks into the camera and states: (I’m paraphrasing) “When I chose my glasses I went only to one place (location here) and even though I’m wearing contact lenses now, when it came to my glasses I was very satisfied.”

If you just went “huh?” and re-read that line. Yep, that’s correct. In an advertisement as “the place to go” to get your glasses. The satisfied customer is so satisfied she’s not wearing any glasses. Even though the commercial is about selling glasses. You can’t make this stuff up. And remember – someone (and that someone has to be the owner of this establishment) believed (or was talked into) this was a great idea.

The national ad: You have probably seen this one however I wonder how many of you have noticed what I just can’t get my head around that no one at both the company, as well as the agency, was making the case just how irrelevant they are. The commercial is for Buick™.

The catch phrase or line is, “That’s not a Buick!” or, “I’m in the Buick.” Where? “Right here in front of you!” Where?

Here’s the punchline as I see it: No one in the commercial can believe, recognize, or find the Buick when right there on the grill is the emblem logo prominently displayed on the front of the car that in some ways is so big, well – It’s the size of a Buick!

Yet no one knows what it is or stands for because even though it’s right there in front of them – they can’t find or recognize the car, nor the brand itself. Again, you can’t make this stuff up.

Advertising can be a very expensive proposition. But what can turn expensive into costly is when it does the exact opposite of what was intended. And if you’re paying the freight, it’s your job to ensure that the ROI of an ad buy – doesn’t cost you in places you never intended.

© 2014 Mark St.Cyr