A Marketing Hodgepodge Blog

I’ve jotted down a few notes over the past few days every time I see a piece of advertising that bugs me.  Ok, it more than bugs me.  I have a disease called “I can’t stand bad advertising-itis.”  So, this is a hodgepodge of three different items that have plagued me recently…

The local restaurant’s ad for a burger special in a women’s magazine.  Not just any burger.  A sloppy, drippy, messy burger! In a women’s magazine!  Not that there aren’t women who eat burgers where there’s a 90% chance you’ll be wearing part of it when you’re done…but come on.  It IS more of a guys thing.  So… bzzzzzzttt.  Definitely not the best place to put your burger ad.

Next up is a local financial services TV commercial.  It was a winner.  And it’s the type of local TV commercial that is represented every minute of the day on your local TV channels or Cable TV.  Ok, here we go.  Walk with me here.  I can just hear the TV “creative” person saying to the advertiser…

“It’s gonna be great.  We’ll walk around your offices with our camera and shoot everyone in their natural working environment.  It will show the viewers that you’re hard workers and that you’re serious about financial services.  Then, at the end, we’ll pan in and get a great close-up shot of your business name and logo that’s hanging on your wall in the lobby.  Throughout the commercial, we’ll have a professional voice list off all the services you provide and also have really cinematic music in the background.  Actually, it’s more of a film than a TV commercial.”  Barf.

Finally… we have an ultra-cliché slogan that puts an exclamation on the fact that all of their marketing is mediocre at best…

“It’s your time.”

That’s it.  Stirred your soul, didn’t it?  Barf.  I know I already used a “barf”…but it fits perfectly here as well.  I can’t even remember what kind of business used that slogan.  Shocker, I know.

That was fun.  Short and to the point, right?

Maybe I’ll do more of these.  Because the bad, ridiculous, and just plain forgettable marketing and advertising ideas are ALL AROUND ME.  I want it to stop.  Or do I?

Duane Christensen

Non-Fat Advertising

Crap-tacular Advertising

There are still companies that pay ad agencies to conjure up headlines and slogans that are crappy.  

Yes, I know that “crappy” is a very technical term, but it’s the first word that often comes to mind for me.  Maybe “craptacular” fits better.

I recently saw an ad in a major magazine for a big-time boat manufacturer.  What was the headline?

“America’s favorite fishing boats since 1978.”  

Really?  That is the headline they chose?  And then, they proceeded to use verbiage in the ad like “providing high-quality boats” and “It’s been our legacy for 33 years.”  It baffles me that an ad agency was paid a lot of money for that.  Well, I’m not sure it was a LOT of money…I’m just going from the numbers I hear that small, local ad agencies charge…and assuming a BIG ad agency charges a bunch more.  Pretty scientific.  But hey, they might have taken the lowest bid though, right?  Well, they got what they paid for.

Maybe a big company can afford to advertise poorly…but I don’t believe many small businesses have that luxury.  Too many businesses (large and small) need to understand that their advertising can perform so much better with only a few tweaks to the words they use in their ad messages.

Do you want to know a GOOD headline I saw that’s related to the fishing biz?…

“We know so much about fish, we’re starting to grow gills.”  

At least THAT headline made me want to know more about their product.  Yes, we know they’re not really starting to grow gills.  But it makes you want to know more about what they’re selling, right?  Isn’t that the point of a headline?  It got my attention, it made me curious, and I wanted to read more.  THAT is what a headline is supposed to do!

Most of the small businesses around my area and around the country (who I’d love to help), have advertising that resembles the first crappy headline.  It does NOTHING for them.  Some advertising salesperson (with a shelf life of 6 months) is handing off some notes to a “creative” department…and the creative department says “Ta-Da! Here you go! Isn’t this a pretty ad?!”  Do you think the creative department, who is eternally hovering around their latest Photo Shop work of art, knows what it’s going to take to set a business apart from their competition?  Ummm, no.  Most of the ad “execs” just sell the advertising space…and most creative departments don’t get what advertising is actually supposed to do – bring a return on investment.

Ask your advertising person WHY, HOW, and WHEN more often.  Ask them why will it work, how will it work, and when will it work.  A good ad person will be able to answer those questions in their sleep.

Take a look at all the advertising you’ve done over the past two years.  Start with all the headlines.  Do you think they could be better?  Be honest.

Up at the top of this post, did it sound like I’m not fond of ad agencies?  Not true.  Just the ones that don’t know what they’re doing.  And then, they start overcharging because they know there’s a good chance they’ll be out of business within 10 months.

Thanks for listening!  I hope you found something useful from this post.  :-)  And don’t be afraid to leave a comment.  Agree?  Disagree?  Other insight?

Have a great day!

Duane Christensen

Non-Fat Advertising

I’m a marketing guy and ad writer. This isn’t just about better ads either, it’s also about a strategy to set you apart and help you be remembered (in a good way). I write this marketing blog because I’m on a mission to help you get more from your advertising bucks. I also wrote a a no-nonsense book about how to take a bigger slice of market share with better advertising. It’s called “Take a Bigger Slice”.