Did you see the Superbowl? Turned out to be a real game after all. And, in the peculiar world of sports betting, the Eagles won by losing. They beat the spread.
But the game has turned into a sideshow. People tune in because it’s an event that gets talked about. Last year, chat around the water cooler was all about Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction. Buzz. Marketers get sucked into the hooplah, and wanna be part of it.
The top story on the MSN home page right after the game was NOT the score from the gridiron. Nope. It was how viewers ranked the ADS. The circus came to town, and as the dust settles, the captialist system waits with beating heart to see what happens next.
I shouldn’t have to mention this… but the track record of big splashy ads is not good, if increased profits was the goal. Madison Avenue went completely insane long ago, and convinces clients their ads must be hilarious to “work”. They count up the votes they get for “best ad”, and the “buzz” they generate around water coolers… and claim victory when the culture picks up any line from the copy and starts repeating it. “Where’s the beef” kinda phrases.
The sad truth is that entertaining ads do not sell product. In the worst case, people laugh their ass off at the ad, and tell their friends about it… but can’t remember the name of the product. Or confuse it with the competition. Because it was just tacked on after the mini-clown routine, as an afterthought. All the creative effort went into entertainment, and not an ounce into actual selling.
Not that being remembered is any guarantee people will buy your shit. “Oh, hey, there’s that cereal they advertised on TV! Gosh, that was a funny commercial… let’s buy it!”
Jack In The Box is an exception — they skillfully entertwine product and pitch into the play. But you still shouldn’t use them as a template for any of your own ads… unless you have a campaign war-chest in the high millions. These guys rely on massive repetition for results. Most entrepreneurs have one good shot at the sale, and need to pack as much salesmanship into each ad as possible.
What Madison Avenue does wrong with 99% of their television ads is to create funny stuff that has no relationship with the product whatsoever. The advertiser simply prays that being associated with such humor (or, occasionally, bravado) will rub off in a good way. Or something.
However, most of these ads are completely interchangeable. It could be Ford, or Chevy, or Toyota financing the yuks (or doing the bragging). Doesn’t matter even a little bit.
And so the commercial doesn’t rub off at all. You remember the punch line, but couldn’t come up with the right brand name if you were tortured.
The problem is an utter lack of a USP. A real one, with reasons why and credibility and proof… and not a fake one, tested in focus groups by people without a drop of salesman’s blood in their veins.
And pay attention — these large companies are about to come to the Web in force… and it’s likely they’ll be using the brand new “online” divisions of the Madison Avenue ad agencies. They will have presence, and gobble up bandwidth like a brontosaurus wading through your backyard garden.
Entrepreneurs will feel the pinch. And that’s where having classic salesman’s skills will be your life saver. If you’re in a market niche that’s creating big profits, you’re gonna have competition soon. The days of “low hanging fruit” on the Web are about to expire, and it will happen fast. Like, yes, a tsunami.
Learn the craft of selling, now, while the Huns have not yet reached the gates.
Blatant pitch: Most readers of this blog already have my stuff. However, if you don’t… and you’ve been dicking around putting off buying it… you will want to know that I’m about to restructure everything I offer. Prices are going to rise across the board, as soon as next month. I’m writing the new copy right now.
I have not raised prices in three years. My stuff is now embarrassingly-cheap, compared with what other “experts” are gouging people for. (And many of these experts learned everything they know from veterans like me, Halbert, Abraham and a tiny handful of others.) But that’s not a reason to buy. The reason to buy is more simple: Nothing will happen in your life until you learn to write sizzling copy… and learn what to DO with it to bring in the moolah.
I’ve been teaching people how to earn massive piles of money, both online and in the “old world” markets of direct response, for many years now. I know what to do, I’ve done it over and over, and I can teach you how to do it, too.
And it’s about to get more expensive to learn the secrets. So you might wanna get off your duff and take the plunge now.
How’s the New Year shaping up for you so far? Having fun yet?
P.S. The ONLY ad during the Superbowl that created real buzz… was PULLED after one airing early in the game. It was the spot for www.godaddy.com, the new site registering domain names for cheap. They used a buxom blonde in a phony congressional hearing set-up, and echoed the fuss over the Janet Jackson thing. I’m not sure how salesworthy the ad was, since it was hard not to stare at the buxom beauty’s bounty (and ignore the pitch)… but it was a ballsy move. Risked the wrath of our new Puritanically-inclined culture of titillation. I like that.
The network pulled it, however. No word on why.
Sex will sell. Sex will create buzz.
Sex will also get you in trouble with the Man.
P.P.S. The first time I turned on a television in Paris, there was a naked lady standing on a bare set selling laundry detergent. Starkers. Very casual about it, too.
Say what you will about Europe’s “values”. They kicked the Puritans out five hundred years ago, and have been more relaxed about things ever since. Lucky us.