I was watching the professional football competition yesterday when I saw a commercial that moved me. In full disclosure, I have always had a soft spot for TV commercials. Sure, print advertising has its moments, but I’ve paid close attention to TV commercials since I was a little boy. I didn’t fall victim to the selling, most of the time, but I paid close attention to the art of the commercial. I love good commercials and I loathe the bad ones. That’s why this one stuck with me. It’s simple, but effective.
The Good Commercial
While seeing a badass car doing donuts in the dirt is certainly not original, the message most certainly is . . .
“We’re willing to bet no kid ever grew up with a poster of a Passat on his bedroom wall.”
That’s good advertising. Why? Because it creates an emotional connection. Sure, the message alienates some people, but that’s the point. You’ll want to buy a Dodge Charger because it’s kind of like today’s muscle car. It’s a little bit tougher than the rest (especially, the Passat). That’s a good commercial.
But they’re not all good. Let’s take a look at the flipside – the bad commercial. In this instance, I’m thinking of the current round of Bud Light commercials in the “It’s Only Weird If It Doesn’t Work” campaign. We’ll use “Ramsey” as an example.
The Bad Commercial
These commercials were clever and amusing in the beginning. We could relate to the message. Now, unfortunately, the older versions are boring because we’ve seen them a hundred times. The newer versions, well those are horrible because they are clearly the dregs of this particular idea – an idea that has run its course and that’s the problem.
The emotional connection has been forever lost to familiarity. We lose that emotional connection because there’s a lot of money tied up in TV commercials. They run forever and ever. They run so long and so frequently that we actually grow to loathe them. Anyone remember the Geico cavemen? They were hilarious – until they weren’t. For as funny and original as the cavemen were, they were soon followed by over-exposure and burnout.
Luckily, that doesn’t have to be the case with online marketing strategies. With online marketing strategy, we have the ability to be original again and again. We have the best medium mankind has ever seen. Our audience can be as big or little as we need it to be and the costs are quite low when compared to TV. To put it simply, we have the canvas and the ability to create memorable campaigns, whether in print (online) or video (online), again and again. Why? Because the analytics are easy to gather and it’s easy to change course when necessary. It’s easy and affordable to launch campaigns and keep the fire alive.
If your campaign or content isn’t working . . . bag it and start fresh. If something is working, keep it going, but breathe new life into it. Don’t fall into the TV trap and let your ideas grow stale. Use our medium to its fullest extent!