Wednesday, August 31, 2005

What TV commercials should do

As a former advertising copywriter (copy = ad text), and direct marketing copy director, I am tempted to comment on blogs when the topic is advertising or commercials.

Doggone it, I did it again.

Here's what I posted as a comment to:

Deboer on Marketing and Creativity

"Rebirth of the 30 second spot"

[Be sure to visit Bruce's blog and see the full text of what I'm reacting against.]

[QUOTE -- comment by Steven/Vaspers]

I hate and despise the Chrysler and Hardee's commercials, in fact, just about all car commercials.

In automotive commercials, almost always, they show people driving wildly or at least at super high speeds, dangerous for anyone.

When you say you like TV commercials, I wonder about our difference in taste.

Can you name any?

To say they are "entertaining", "emotive", and "tied intimately to a brand"...nice, but wrong.

These are not what a TV commercial is supposed to be or do.

What TV Commercials Are Supposed to Do:

(1) provide product differentiation, a USP, reason to buy

(2) dramatize how the product solves a problem, meets a need, or enhances life/lifestyle

(3) dramatize why we need to BUY IT NOW...not tomorrow, which never comes

(4) dramatize what might probably happen if we DON'T buy it now

(5) dramatize how easy it is to buy product now

(6) explain how to buy it now, where to go, what to do

(7) explain any special offers or deals

(8) end with the name of the product (almost never done).

Posted by: Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate | Wednesday, August 31, 2005


[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Anonymous said...

Thanks for including my post Steven.

Of course you are exaclty right on all your points. Let add, however, that if I put thought into it I can make name many ads that do/did a good job - btw - I hate those ads you mentioned myself.

Is it possible to meet all your points and make them "entertaining", "emotive", and "tied intimately to a brand"? If it's not possible, they will fail as those 30 second spots move onto the web and become viewer voluntary.

It's a tall order but it can be done and will be done, just keep watching. When the bar is raised there is talent out there to meet it and it's about time the bar was raised - don't you agree?

steven edward streight said...

You are quite welcome.

Your post grabbed my attention, got me thinking, and did the ultimate that any post can do:

got me to write about it, devote an entire post to it, on my own blog.

There is no higher compliment that one can give to a blogger than to publish a post in reference to their post.

It is more complimentary than even blogrolling the blog, though I may blogroll you after I've read some more of your blog.

It's active, intricate involvement with another blogger's post.

You have done an excellant job clarifying your position.

My problem with "entertaining" is that I know many TV commercial producers are Hollywood wannabes, doing it with an eye to awards ceremonies, which reward work that has nothing to do with selling products, no proof of impact on sales or solving other problems for the company.

My problem with "emotive" is how some think consumers are dumb robots driven by frivolous and fickle feelings. So they wish to appeal to baser instincts, as in car shopping as fun with balloons and hot dogs for the kids. Bullshit.

My problem with "branding" is that nobody really buys a brand. This is a stupid myth. They buy what they think a brand can do, what it means. A person may love R Kelly music, so any R Kelly CD they will buy, except when it sucks in some way. Then the R Kelly or Madonna or REM or whatever "brand" means nothing.

What is "branded" is not a product or product line. What is "branded" or burned into the brain of a consumer is:

how easily, quickly, enjoyably, economically, stylishly, etc. the product solves the customer's problem, meets need (including status), or enhances life or lifestyle.

Any thoughts?