Sunday, April 13, 2008

Free Market Research

      I am not a marketing major.  I have never taken a marketing class.  I have no marketing experience whatsoever.  But I am an American consumer.  And as such, I am  pretty sure that I am authorized to say what does or does not work in terms of commercials.  And I am here to tell you that just because your commercial is memorable doesn't mean that I am going to buy your stupid product.  And that's the cold hard truth.  So put that in your marketing book.
     If you put out a commercial that just provides me with some information about your product, that's cool.  I am all about that.  You put out a commercial about some middle aged couple talking about lowering their cholesterol with Crestor or something and that's okay with me.  You are telling me information about your product and what it does.  You put out a commercial about all the great new wireless plans from 
Sprint, that's okay.  It tells me about how I can get my new two year contract and a sweet phone from Nokia with three different keyboards or whatever.  Cool.  I can take the information about drugs (possible side effects:  vomiting, diarrhea, internal bleeding, hair loss, softening of the fingernails, eye color change, osteoporosis, loss of taste bids, mild hypertension, and bubonic plague) or sweet cell phones (only $139 after $16 mail in rebate with two-year contracts on plans $79 per month and up) so I can ask my doctor about your awful drug or pay for a wireless plan with way too many minutes to get a cool new phone.  That's what commercials are supposed to do.  So those are okay. 
     There is another kind that is okay.  Usually they are food commercials, sometimes a car commercial.  Those are the ones where they show a really sweet picture of the product and I want to buy it right there, right now.  Sho
w a picture of a big sloppy Hardee's burger slowly rotating past a bed of fries and dripping grease and tomato juice all over the place and I am in the car and on my way to a heart attack.  Boom.  You show a sweet new Mitsubishi running around some city at night and I am on the Internet, looking at how much one will cost and realizing that I am poor.  Those are good commercials.  They make me want to buy your product.  That's the idea, isn't it?  Give me some info on your product so I can consider buying it.  Or appeal to my animal instincts and make me want it RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND.  That's cool.  That's effective.  But don't try to cute me, or entertain me, or make me think a lot, because it's not going to work.
     If you want me to buy your product, or engage your service, don't make a commercial that I will remember.  Does that make sense?  Probably not.  But here is the deal, if you make terrible memorable commercials, you commercial is going to overshadow your product.  And odds are it's going to be for a product that my mind is already made up on.  Like beer.  Some of the greatest and most memorable commercials of all time are beer commercials.  The Budweiser frogs and the Real American Hero/Real Men of Genius commercials for Bud Light are two examples.  But no matter what ridiculous commercial those companies come out with
, I am going to keep drinking Miller.  That's just how I am, that's just where my allegiance lies.  So the only value that those commercials have to me are as entertainment.  So that's millions of dollars wasted that you could use to lower the price of your beer.  Then I'd probably buy more.  What do you think about that?
     So here is the deal.  Make your commercial be about your product.  Don't show me a commercial about marmots skiing and then have it be a Nationwide Car Insurance ad.  That's not going to make me want to
 buy car insurance from you.  If you're Citibank, don't spend your money on a commercial showing twenty-something girls in skimpy clothes washing a car in the hot sun.  Yeah, I'm not even going to register that Citibank is involved.  Let's think about that.  All I care about are the girls in swimsuits.  Hello?  Is anybody home?  If you are selling real estate don't put out a commercial showing people riding in a motocross race.  That makes no sense.  The commercials with the band singing in as servers at a pirate-themed restaurant might make me remember but it doesn't make me go there.  So please let's be smart about the commercials we put out.  If you want to entertain me more power to you, but don't expect me but your product.  But if you want me to buy your product, don't try to entrain me.  It's a pretty simple concept.  Call me and ask me about it.  You could probably even write off the long distance as market research.  But only if you make me a sweet commercial for the blog.

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