Archive for the ‘promos’ Tag

An Inconvenient Truth* #2: Know Thyself   Leave a comment

I’ve spent far too much of my time and limited mind space thinking about this rather inane question:

What on earth is Allstate thinking?

For the last couple of years, they’ve had the Strong Soothing Black Man as their spokesperson in their TV spots.  Don’t know his name, but it doesn’t matter.  The SSBM exudes what we all need right now:  quiet strength, unwavering confidence, the feeling that no matter what may go wrong in your life, the SSBM will make it all go away.

Are you in good hands?  We sure are, Strong Soothing Black Man.

Then inexplicably, it all changed.

Like a child wrenched from Daddy’s arms, my safety and security were suddenly blasted from me.  Because, without warning, the Allstate commercials began featuring the uber-creepy Mayhem.   

Mayhem’s your basic Psychotic White Guy, posing as every threat you’ve never thought of.  Your everyday life, your most basic and innocent acts – such as cruising to Vons to pick up bananas – are made sinister.  Because Mayhem is lurking everywhere. 

He’s the tree smashing your windshield, the teenage girl texting her way into the back of your head, the ghoulish fool howling through the sun roof in a parking lot – as he careens into your back bumper.

I watched in horror.  I waited for the Strong Soothing Black Man to appear and make it all go away. 

But he never came.  And I was afraid.

Because this sudden, crazy shift in Allstate’s marketing freaked me out.  I wondered, who IS this company?  And why do they suddenly want to scare the living crap out of me with this Psychotic White Guy?  Allstate’s bipolar positioning shift left me confused – and wary.

Which leads us to Promobabe’s Inconvenient Truth #2:  Know Thyself

Does your company project a consistent brand identity?  Do your customers have a clear idea of who you are and what you stand for?  Here are Promobabe’s basic guidelines for making sure you know thyself:

  • Resist the urge to be all things to all people
  • Understand your company’s “core personality.”  Use research, customer feedback, etc to help determine how your target market sees you. Are you the smart guys?  The friendly helping hand?  The cool, sexy alternative?
  • Be consistent in your marketing.  Remember you can change and freshen your creative, just like we all change our clothes.  But your basic persona still remains the same.
  • Customer confusion = frustration = marketing death!

 Clearly, Allstate was having a crazy, whirlwind of an identity crisis. Played out in expensive TV spots to confused viewers.

 While I don’t have the inside skinny on whether or not the Mayhem campaign worked for them, I’m betting it didn’t.  Because a few weeks later, the Strong Soothing Black Man appeared in new spots again.

 Is your marketing message in good hands?

*ignore at your own marketing 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

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