2010 Super Bowl TV Commercials

February 9, 2010

Did you miss one of the Super Bowl ads? Or can you not stop watching certain ones over-and-over?  Ad Age did a nice job gathering them all up for your viewing pleasure. Watch and share them as frequently as you like. CLICK HERE to be redirected to Ad Age to see them all now.

ENJOY (again)!


Four Favorite 2009 Holiday TV Commercials

January 8, 2010

The 2009 holiday season didn’t  produce many good or effective TV commercials.  But, there were a few standouts. 

Below are 4 of my favorites (other than my clients, of course):



Hersey’s Kisses

(one of the few recycled commercials that is memorable)



How to make Your Television Commercials Memorable

November 20, 2009

What makes a memorable TV commercial? It’s all about messaging. When a piece of communication is to the point, relevant, worthwhile and compelling – it will move the viewer to action.

Moving people is not magic – it’s all about effective communication. It’s called the 4Cs model, which stands for Comprehension, Connection, Credibility and Contagiousness.

Brands like Dunkin’ Donuts, Suave Shampoo and Breyers Ice Cream use the 4Cs model to develop advertising campaigns that create an emotional connection with their customers.

Use the 4Cs to objectively evaluate your television commercials: what’s working, what isn’t and why.

The First C:  Comprehension

Does the audience get the message or main idea of the commercial? What does the commercial instantly communicate? Can the audience play the message back? This confirms that they “get it” and the first C is working.  Here are three tips for better comprehension:

1) Make the message sharp and clear

2) Repetition helps

3) Keep it simple – don’t go too deep

The Second C:  Connection

Making a connection with your TV commercial means not only that the audience “gets it,” but that it resonates with them, has meaning and significance for them and usually triggers an emotional response.

The Third C:  Credibility

The audience needs to believe who is saying it (the brand voice), what is being said, and how it is being said. Otherwise, any connection begins to break down – immediately.  Credibilty is the critical C, because the audience may completely understand an advertiser’s message, and even connect with it on an emotional level – but may not buy into it.  An example is Buick’s recent failure to attract younger buyers to the brand despite a more youthful image being put forth in its products and advertising.  It’s going to take a lot more than some well-produced TV ads to convince people that Buick is more than their grandfather’s car.

The Fourth C:  Contagiousness

You want your audience to “catch the message,” run with it, and spread it around. Think of the last time you saw a TV commercial that was so funny or clever that you discussed it with your friends, found yourself reenacting it or repeated the slogan in conversations.  That’s contagiousness.  To be contagious, your commercial needs to be energetic, new, different and memorable. And most of all, it should motivate the target to do something. 

Applying the 4Cs

So now play one of your TV commercials for a few people in your target audience and ask them the following questions:

1) What is the main message?

2) Does it evoke an emotional response?

3) Is the message believable?

4) Do you feel the message will “stick with you” and make you want to react in some way?

I assure you, the answers will be revealing – one way or another.



TV Advertising Builds Brands that Last

October 27, 2009

Picture for Post #35

Let’s just cut to the chase? As it stands today, TV advertising builds brands. Internet advertising does not. There’s little doubt that once a brand is established, the Internet can and does keep the momentum moving forward, but until that point is reached all the banner ads and twitter tweets will do little to ingrain your brand into the psyche of the consumer.

Creating a memorable brand requires more than getting people to talk about your product on a social network. It requires the advertiser to make an emotional connection that television does so well.  Do you honestly think Nike would be the #1 sports brand if it wasn’t for television advertising?  Or would you feel the same connection with a little known insurance company if their AFLAC-ing duck never made its way onto your television screen? 

Sure technology has changed, but the basic rules of effective marketing remain the same. You still need reach and frequency to create most truly memorable brands.  And television advertising delivers both better than anything else out there.

Television has a rich history of transforming everyday companies into household names.  From packaged goods to insurance, from fast food to tires – television has been responsible for creating some of the most memorable advertising icons.

Who can forget …

The Energizer Bunny … Frank Bartles and Ed Jaymes … Joe Isuzu … Tony The Tiger … The Michelin Man … Mr. Whipple … Dave Thomas … Mr. Peanut … The Keebler Elves … The Maytag Repairman … The Geico Gecko … Charlie The Tuna … Ronald McDonald … Mrs. Olsen … Jared from Subway … Clara “Where’s the Beef” Peller … Orville Redenbacher … The Marlboro Man …Colonel Sanders … Pillsbury Doughboy … Chef Boyardee … The AFLAC Duck … The California Raisins … Morris the Cat … The Quaker Oats Man … The Green Giant … Juan Valdez … The Doublemint Twins … The Budweiser Frogs … Rosie, The Bounty quicker picker upper … Aunt Jemima … Mr. Clean … The Verizon Wireless “Can You Hear Me Now” Man … Betty Crocker … The Lucky Charms Elf … The Geico Cavemen

Now, recall just one advertising icon or brand that wasn’t first introduced to you on television.

I’ll wait …


What Makes a Good Retail TV Commercial?

October 1, 2009

Picture for Post #32The ultimate test of an effective television commercial is NOT how entertaining it was, but did it get results.  More specifically, did viewers respond with their hard earned money?

As a retailer, if your agency can’t produce tangible results for your business then show them the door.  And you’ll probably be ushering them out sooner rather than later, if your commercials lack any of these six basic elements:

 Does your TV commercial…

1) Motivate viewers to take action immediately.

2) Explicitly communicate your product or service’s advantages over other choices.

3) Visually arouse your prospect.  Test this by turning the sound off and see if it still has the same visual effect.

4) Inspire trust, confidence and believability.

5) Provide a single consistent message that penetrates the viewers’ minds and stays there long after the commercial is over.

6) Grabs the viewers’ attention within the first three to five seconds. Remember the remote control is your worst enemy.  You must engage the audience quickly or risk losing them.

I want to thank David Frey, author of the best-selling manual, “The Small Business Marketing Bible” for these tips.  He’s spot on!


Traditional TV Still Far Ahead of Internet & Mobile Viewing

September 28, 2009

Picture for Post #30The latest Three Screen Report from Nielsen finds there is again another jump in viewing done over the Internet. And to the surprise of some, traditional television viewing also continues to grow. However, the report notes a slight decrease for watching video on mobile devices.

“Although we have seen the computer and mobile phone screens taking on a significant role, their emergence has not been at the cost of TV viewership,” Nielsen’s Jim O’Hara commented.  “The entire media universe is expanding so consumers are choosing to add elements to their media experience, rather than to replace them.”

In the second quarter of 2009, the monthly time spent watching TV in the home by each user reached 141 hours and 3 minutes, up from 139:00 a year ago. 

People who watch video on the Internet averaged 3 hours and 11 minutes compared to 2:02 last year.

However, the monthly time spent watching video on mobile phones was actually lower than a year ago … down from 3 hours and 37 minutes to 3:15.

Is it any surprise that major retailers still turn to traditional TV to reach the masses?  People spend more time with television in just two days than they spend all month long watching video on the Internet and mobile phones combined.

And when it comes to critical mass, TV continues to lead the way in a big way.  While Internet and mobile viewing are showing growth over previous years, numbers that do so are still relatively small, especially for mobile viewing.

Nielsen finds that 284.4 million Americans watched some TV in their homes during the second quarter.  Less than half of them (about 134 million) watched some video on the Internet, while only 15.3 million watched video on mobile phones.



How to Use Music in Retail TV Advertising

September 25, 2009

Music, in my opinion, is one of the most powerful yet underutilized tools in advertising.

Anyone who remembers the mid-70s also remembers:

Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a Sesame Seed Bun!!

Thirty years later I can still hum this old McDonald’s commercial. Times have changed, and trends in advertising music have definitely changed, but music’s role in advertising is as relevant as ever.

The biggest problem in today’s jingles is executions that push TOO HARD to make the viewer feel a certain way about the brand. Watching TV the other night, I saw a commercial for a local carpet store. At the end, a singer belts out gleefully:

JB factory carpets … the biggest … the best … always the lowest price!

I have to question whether I believe the singer’s sincerity. Is she really that happy about JB’s selection of fine carpets? Doubtful. And neither are the viewers.  It’s the classic mistake of an advertiser talking about themselves, rather than addressing the viewers wants from the viewer’s point of view. Or maybe it’s the trite use of “biggest and best” … which ranks right up there with other homogenous phrases like “we won’t be undersold.”

True, the old McDonalds piece is a list of what you get on a burger. But it had charm and invited viewers to participate in seeing whether or not they could remember the list. And most importantly, the singers never hit you over the head with a refrain of “limited time only.

Like many jingles in the 80s, the music painted a happy vibe that viewers associated with the brand. Remember Dr. Pepper’s “I’m a pepper, you’re a pepper”? And Toyota’s “I love what you do for me? Major advertisers haven’t forgotten how music can build brands …the executions have simply evolved.

Ba da ba-ba-ba … I’m Lovin’ It.

Indeed, I am. Here, McDonalds does it again. The music (and singers) establish an emotional connection with the listener, letting the Voice Over do the selling. The overall result is a commercial that reminds customers that McDonalds is more than just a value menu – but an experience you WANT to have.

Of course, there are times when the singer/music has to contribute a little more muscle within the message. Like singing the phone number for example. Just make sure the melody isn’t overly sappy if the lyrics are little more than a set of digits.

The music in this commercial humorously plugs the word “Free” 9 times within the span of 15 seconds. This is a perfect example of music conveying a very pointed message.


Here, a musical sting at the end of the spot reinforces the phone number. This is a more aggressive example of using music to achieve a very specific communication goal.




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