Retail TV Advertising: “It’s not creative if it doesn’t work.”

August 22, 2009

1960-Philco-TV-AdAs an ad agency owner, it never ceases to amaze me on what makes this business tick. In light of the worst economy in 60 years, logic would say that agencies should be pitching their ability to make the cash register ring.

Instead, any talk about getting customers through the door is obligatory at best with a lot of agencies. Why talk about results when you can drone on and on about your agency’s “award winning” TV commercials? After all, it’s how many awards an agency wins that separates one shop from next. Right?

Who’s kidding who, it’s a lot easier for agency people to wax philosophical on their “break through creative” (the most over-wrought words in advertising) than to defend their work through the prism of increased market share and higher comparative sales.

Unfortunately, too many of my colleagues have forgotten the golden rule in retail advertising:

“It’s not creative if it doesn’t work.”

And even more prefer the easy way out through the creation of advertising that “tells not sells.” You know, the kind of commercials that spend 22 seconds setting up the joke and the last 8 seconds poorly selling the product.

So the next time, you’re ad agency is enthusiastically trying to sell you on another “award winning” television campaign. Keep them honest and ask four simple questions:

  1. What is the strategy behind what you’re proposing? (Note: “because it’s such a cool idea” is not a strategy.)
  2. Why is this campaign the best use of my advertising dollars?
  3. Is there anything else we could do that would deliver a better ROI?
  4. Will this campaign increase awareness or sales? (Note: awareness is hard to measure; sales are not.)

Then, just sit back and get ready for the show; along with developing all those award-winning commercials – many agencies have become quite adept at the lost art of tap dancing.

Share


3 Basic Elements to an Effective Retail TV Commercial

August 14, 2009

TV Call To Action for Post #8TV advertising can be the most effective form of advertising you can use to grow your retail chain – or it can be colossal waste of money.  

You decide. 

Don’t depend on your ad agency to tell you.  A lot of them are too busy winning awards with your money to worry about what’s effective or not. 

 It’s up to you to know the difference between commercials that win acclaim and those that win customers.  

 To help out, here’s s are some basic (but essential) elements that every retail TV commercial should possess.

 1)      Call to Action:  Why advertise if you’re not providing consumers with tangible reasons to shop your store?  The key word here is tangible. Stay away from generic platitudes like “low prices” and “great selection.”  Or other obvious claims like the one I saw the other day for a fence company, where they proudly advertised: “We build dependable fences.” As if there was a market out there for undependable ones.   

 2)      A Brand Promise:  A lot of retailers (and some ad agencies) think that a strong call to action and a branding message don’t mix well in a 15 or 30-second TV commercial – you have to choose one or another.  On the contrary, it’s only when both the brand promise and the offer coexist, that you have the makings for an effective TV commercial.  Would you rather have a .99 cent hamburger from a no name burger joint or a .99 cent Big Mac from one of the most recognizable brand names in the world?  Without a brand promise, your price and item commercial will fall flat.

 3)      Consistency:  Al Ries, probably the nation’s foremost authority on retail marketing said it best:

“Brand building is boring work. What works best is absolute consistency over an extended period of time.”

Find something that works and stick with it. Just ask BMW who has stayed the course since 1975 with “The Ultimate Driving Machine”.  Or how about Maxwell House Coffee’s 94-year history with its “Good to the last drop” positioning?   Short and simple – consumers reward consistency.

Share