Archive for the ‘advertising’ Tag

Back to Old School   1 comment

As a working stiff in the marketing trenches, I’m usually too busy pep-stepping in my own Promo Parade to pay much mind to the advertising around me.

And, as you’re likely thinking, that’s a huge mistake.  I agree.

As an advertising pro, I need to be more heads up about what’s happening in my industry, despite my daunting daily to-do list.  It’s a challenge we all face in business.

So lately I’ve been paying a lot more attention to the marketing (or attempts at marketing) I see around me.  Not only do I get inspired, it’s a great reminder of those timeless advertising basics.

Here are some recent campaigns that showcase Advertising 101:

Yellowtail Wine: The creative crew behind Yellowtail encourages me to take what I call “realistic risks.”  The in-your-face graphics, the odd, yet compelling voiceover and the sheer audacity of the spots make this campaign a real attention-getter.  Most important?  They don’t let the clever concept get in the way of their real mission:  selling Yellowtail wine. The branding shines through loud and clear in every aspect of the creative.  The concept and the writing speak directly to their target audience (young-ish, stylish, connected and social).  And the product is truly the star.

Lesson Learned:  Find your own product’s “unique flava”  — but never let cool creative obliterate your branding.

1-800-CONTACTS:  Ahhh, humor.  We all love funny campaigns – but they’re tough to pull off. Too many “humorous” spots forget Job
#1:  the need to sell a product.  However, this funny campaign is a winner.  The folks behind 1-800-CONTACTS brilliantly blend humor and product branding in a simple, but effective campaign.  It’s got all the key elements:  a crystal clear concept (ordering their contacts is easy and saves you money), memorable characters, who are perfectly cast (I’ll long remember the actor lamenting about his “special eyes”) and great scriptwriting that hammers home the USP. Even more interesting is how simple, almost barren, the visuals are.  No flash, no fast edits, no barrage of incoming effects. A reminder that the K.I.S.S. principle can really work.

Lesson Learned:  Funny is as funny does.  Does the creative really sell your product?  Support your branding?  Make your product/service the star?  Or is it just…funny?

So every now and then, take a trip back to old school.  Absorb the advertising around you – and not just in your own industry. Review those timeless marketing techniques.  Are you really selling your product – or is the creative getting in the way?

You’re in for a very valuable lesson.


Posted September 19, 2011 by promobabe in Creative Services

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An Inconvenient Truth* #3: Don’t Make ‘em Work   Leave a comment

I watch yet another car lurk around the parking lot, scoping out the closest space possible to the building’s front door. Despite the fact that just a few rows away are dozens of empty spots, ignored by just about every driver. Round and round she goes, where she’ll stop, nobody knows – except you can be certain it won’t be far away.

And, of course, all this walk-avoidance is happening at the gym.

This hunt-for-the-nearest-parking-spot scenario is played out in parking lots across America day after day, at malls, restaurants, the airport, and yes, even the gym.

So what does this mean for you, dear Marketer? Another inconvenient, but important truth: At heart, most people are lazy. They’ll rally during times of crisis, show extraordinary strength and courage during history’s darkest hours – but just don’t make ‘em walk across the parking lot.

And don’t make ‘em work at trying to figure out your marketing message.

We’re talking too much play on words, “insider” jokes, copy that doesn’t know when to quit…anything that’s confusing, muddled, unclear, or even worse, boring.

Make sure your advertising is simple, to the point, and is conversational in tone. Cut out the cleverness if it gets in the way of the clarity. As a quick test, write your entire message in a ten-second script, being sure to clearly state your brand promise in that time. It’s a great starting point to develop a complete, concise message people can quickly understand.

Give your customers the chance to get close to you – without having to work at it.

*ignore at your own peril

An Inconvenient Truth* #1: Don’t Make ‘em Think.   Leave a comment

The Promobabe has spun many a marketing tale in her time, much of it inside the wild world of television promotion, where we cranked out promo content on a fast-moving, never-ending conveyer belt.

Despite the Pop-Tart like nature of the work (heat, eat, repeat), I learned a critical thing about that applies to every audience in every industry – at least when it comes to marketing and advertising.

Don’t make ‘em think.

Oh, I hear some of you saying, so you think your audience isn’t as smart as a fifth grader?

Au contraire, dear Reader. I say this Inconvenient Truth with the utmost respect – and compassion – for my customers. Because the reality is:

Everyone’s busy.
Duh. Who isn’t? But for us marketing mavens, it means always remembering that no one has the time or the interest to figure out complex or muddled marketing messages.

Nope, I don’t want you to “dumb it down” – by writing stupid, inane, or insufficient copy. Obviously, marketing the latest robotics for brain surgery will be more in-depth than an ad for fiber-enriched Cheetos.

It does mean creating easy-to-comprehend content that’s always consistent with your company’s brand. Bottom line: Give your tired, overwhelmed audience a break by speaking clearly and directly to them. How?

Keep it simple!
The KISS principle is every marketer’s guiding light. As my first boss used to continually remind me: Keep it simple, stupid. She was annoying, but right.

Take out the shop talk. Avoid the acronyms. Weed out the waxing on…and on …about every detail of your product/service. Remember, really good advertising doesn’t provide all the information – it provides the promise of what makes your product/service so cool – and the push to excite your target market about your company.

Quick test: Ask a few people who fit your target audience, but don’t work for your company (or at the very least, for your department) to take a gander at your upcoming marketing, before you give it the final stamp of approval.

After one look, have them tell you what they got out of the ad. Can they basically articulate what’s unique about your product or service? What makes it good? Why they should buy it?

Or did they have to think too much?

Next Inconvenient Truth: Know thyself. Stay tuned.

*ignore at your own marketing peril

Your English Teacher Was Wrong.   2 comments

Hate to break it to you, but Mrs. Marple, your 8th grade English teacher, put you on the road to utter boredom.  At least when it comes to compelling ad copy.

You know all the rules that were drilled into our heads:

  • Use complete sentences!
  • Don’t ever end a sentence with a preposition!
  • Do not use contractions!
  • Write in the third person!
  • Give lots and lots of details!
  • Do NOT break the rules!

OK, here are Promobabe’s Rules for copywriting that works: 

Love the word “you.”  Sprinkle it liberally throughout your copy.

  Talk to one person at a time – not a group.

 Envision the prospect you’re talking to.  You’re having a conversation, not giving a speech.

 Do not use “do not.”  Or “we are.”  Or “I am.”  Stop channeling Mrs. Marple and embrace the fact that when you’re writing ad copy, contractions are your friends.  They make everything so much more friendly and readable.

 Too many exclamation points!!!!!  It’s overwhelming!!!! Unless you’re a 14 year old girl on Facebook!!!!!  Or wanna feel like a 14 year old girl again!!!!

 Sentence fragments are good.  Sometimes very good.  They add flow and rhythm to your copy.

 Ending sentences with a preposition will NOT result in jail time or the removal of your Writing Rights (in most states).

 White space is also your friend.  Be sure to break text up into paragraphs and/or bullet points for readability.  Your bleary-eyed customers will thank you for it.

And remember, now that you have the rules – feel free to break them anytime.  If you have a really good reason – and Mrs. Marple isn’t around. 

Posted August 16, 2010 by promobabe in Copywriting, Creative Services

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