Make ads that match your story

We’ve all seen ads that try to stretch the reality of the product (infomercials anyone?)

This, in my opinion, is because not enough has gone into the story of the product and the ad is left trying do all the heaving lifting (and we all know that ads do a terrible job persuading consumer loyalty to a shoddy product).

When it fact, it is your story that has to do all of the heavy lifting and the ad is simply there to help reinforce the story (like a great cover on a remarkable book).

But advertisements that do work match the story we already have in our heads, like the iPhone (or most anything Apple).

Take a look at this clever ad from Nintendo advertised on YouTube (be sure to watch it all the way through) – a hat tip to Techdirt.

I love the Wii so it matches my story of the Wii. Does it match your story of the Wii? Are you less, the same or more likely to buy this game or a Wii? Why?

Seinfeld & Gates Microsoft Ad #2

Okay, so I may not have been the biggest fan of the first ad (it was kind of like the first few seasons of Seinfeld – it was alright).

However, this second ad (more like a webisode at 4:30 minutes) is much better in terms of the entertainment value. I’m still a little confused on how it builds brand loyalty, but maybe it’s just a slow build. Here’s how I’d rate it:

Entertainment Value:
starstarstarhalf_star (3.5 / 5 stars)
Brand Builiding:
starhalf_star (1.5 / 5 stars)

If you have not seen it yet, take a look and tell me what you think:

Let’s hope they get even better! Until next time.

Beyond mediocre advertising

Mediocre advertising tries to teach by way of your rational brain.

Remarkable advertising tries to inspire you to become by way of your emotional heart.

Cruel to fool or rules the school?

What do you think?

Hat tip to Boing Boing

Turning off the consumer side of your brain

Why is it when it comes time to think of marketing gimmicks strategies we end up turning off the consumer side of our brains?

Remember the last time you received an unsolicited e-mail? Do you read it? When was the last time you responded? – Exactly. So why will it magically work for you now?

Do you remember the companies that aired commercials just last night during your TV show? How about the Grand Daddy for all commercials- The Super Bowl. Do you remember any commercials from specific companies that aired during the Super Bowl? Did you buy anything because of the ad? – Exactly. So why will it magically work for you now?

Do you remember the company that last cold-called you? When was the last time you bought something from someone just because they called you first? – Exactly. So why will it magically work for you now?

If your going to turn off your own consumer side of your brain when thinking about your marketing efforts, at least be realistic with the results you’re likely achieve.

Happy Wednesday!

Seinfeld on Marketing: Speed Dial

I’m back from the Holidays and it’s time for more Seinfeld on Marketing. In this episode, Jerry is talking with George about his relationship with the latest girl he is dating:

JERRY: I had like a so-so date with Valerie, now I’m number nine on the speed dial.


JERRY: So? I used to be seven. I dropped two spots.

GEORGE: What, she’s ranking you?

JERRY: Yeah, this speed dial is like a relationship barometer.

I hate to break it to you if you were comfortably living in denial, but those we date do keep a mental speed dial of sorts (Jeff was caring and passionate about life – he made the speed dial. Harry danced the Funky Chicken and smelled like rubber cement – he’s nowhere near the speed dial). But those we date are not the only ones that rank us. Consumers also have a speed dial of sorts in their head. We use this speed dial because we can’t possible remember every company so we organized them into categories and store them on speed dial for easy retrieval.

Or more accurately, we have multiple speed dials – one speed dial for each category. I may have a speed dial for “Grocery Stores with the Best Customer Service”, one for “The Best Tasting Sports Drinks” and one for “Quality Outsourcing Companies”. So let’s say that I wanted to dial up the “Greatest TV Sitcoms”, I’d have Seinfeld in my number one spot on my speed dial (this should not surprise you) followed by The Office at number two. Everyone’s speed dial categories and who’s on these speed dial lists may be different.

Since there are many, many speed dials we marketers tend to want to be on the top of the most lists as possible. We reason that if our brand can be retrieved from the “Best Luxury Automobile” speed dial that if I make a lower cost car I should reasonably be ranked on the “Best Low Cost Automobile” speed dial as well. We get this thinking from the advertising glory days – back when you could make a lot of money by simply being everywhere.

But unfortunately, our minds don’t accept duplicity very well. Typically a brand may be on 1-3 similar lists but usually never on two lists with opposing or conflicting meanings. For example, Apple fits quite well in the “Cell Phone”, “Laptop Computer” and “MP3 Player” speed dial lists. But if Apple were to try to get on the “SUV”, the mind’s speed dial would not understand and would reject it on the “SUV” list and may even downgrade or eventually eliminate Apple from the other lists.

We’ll chat later about how to get on and stay on the speed dial list.

This post is part of a weekly series, Seinfeld on Marketing.
[Bonus: You can now check my speed dial list of “Best Seinfeld Episodes” and rank them yourself at my Squidoo page.]

It’s Ironic

We know from Marketing 101 and Reis and Trout’s book, Positioning, how important it is to stand for the something in the prospect’s mind. For example:

Volvo = safety
FedEx = overnight delivery
Apple = differently innovative technology

When it comes to marketing’s own backyard, we have a problem. Many people (I’d even say many good business people) have the misconception that:

Marketing = sales (or advertising)
Brand = logo

What can be done? Let’s pretend for a moment that you are the recently promoted salesmarketing manager or logobrand manager for “Marketing” or “Brand”. Unfortunately there’s no time to celebrate your new position, as there’s work to be done. As your first endeavor, what would you want to come to the mind of business people when they think of “Marketing” or “Brand”? How would you change the current perception to this new position?

Happy Tuesday!

Seinfeld on Marketing: Old school marketing techniques

It’s Friday…so you know what that means, right? Seinfeld on Marketing. I have felt bad as of late that I have neglected some of the other characters of Seinfeld. I hope to rectify this wrong doing today. In this episode, Jerry is talking with his father about going to a family dinner party and his fear about sitting next to his Uncle Leo:


JERRY: If I wind up sitting next to Uncle Leo, I am leaving. He’s always grabbing my arm when he talks to me. I guess it’s because so many people have left in the middle of his conversation.

MORTY: And it’s always about Jeffrey, right?

JERRY: Yeah, he talks about him like he split the atom. The kid works for the Parks Department.

If I had to lay down a few of my hard earned greenbacks, I would bet that Uncle Leo would not have made a very good marketer. The “grab and gab” just doesn’t make the cut in today’s marketing world. The forced marketing of yesteryear – the mass marketing commercials, the banner ads and the dinner-interrupting telemarketing calls – are no longer effective. Now, we resent ever being forced into listening and we have armed ourselves with DVRs and the Do Not Call List. Sorry Uncle Leo…you time has come and gone.

Today, we want authentic and engaging dialogue with businesses. And it’s not about what you think is important (the cousin Jeffery topics), but rather what we the consumers find valuable. If you haven’t already, it’s time you start talking with us in a way that we want you to. Be it blogs, newsletters, podcasts…whatever.

Forget the “grab and gab”. And don’t even think about the “post and boast” (self serving blog posts), that doesn’t work either. Keep it real.

Happy Friday!

This post is part of a weekly series, Seinfeld on Marketing.

Seinfeld on Marketing: Having a feel

Happy Seinfeld on Marketing day to you all! In this episode, there really is no need for a setup, so jump on in the pool:

KRAMER: What’s today?

NEWMAN: It’s Thursday.

KRAMER: Really? Feels like Tuesday.

NEWMAN: Tuesday has no feel. Monday has a feel, Friday has a feel, Sunday has a feel…

tuesdays.pngDoes Tuesday not have a feel? Tuesday can be easily forgotten being that it is wedged between it’s-back-to-work Monday and hump-day Wednesday. Poor “feel-less” Tuesday. Without having a feel, it is often overlooked and ignored.

For businesses, “a feel” could be interpreted as a memorable and remarkable experience. Whole Foods has a healthy and natural feel. Harley Davidson has a rebel feel. Apple has a sleek and innovative feel.

Does your business have a feel? How do you get a feel? Those companies that we often associate as having a strong feel (or brand) usually concentrate their efforts on the four D’s of strong brands:

  1. Differentiate. Make your business stand out from the rest. Do the opposite of what is being done in your industry.
  2. Discover. Allow customers to discover for themselves why your business is so special. Refrain from “telling” your target audience why you are special. Now is the time to remember that “it is better to be a guide on the side than an sage on the stage”.
  3. Delegate. Give control of your message to your evangelists that are ready and willing to spread the good news of your business to their friends and family members. Provide them with the easiest and painless way possible for them to share.
  4. Delight. Continual innovation or providing moments of astonishing customer service all help to keep your customers interested and coming back for more.

At least Friday has a feel. Happy Friday everyone!

This post is part of a weekly series, Seinfeld on Marketing.

Leaking internal speak

While driving to work today, I saw three consecutive billboards for APX Alarm – a national home security system company located in Provo Utah. The three billboards read:

Billboard #1:

Billboard #2:
congratulates its employees

Billboard #3:
for the 125,000+ accounts this summer!

Putting aside for a moment the “self speak” oozing from these billboards, my attention quickly focused on one word in particular – accounts. This word echoed harshly in my ears. I asked myself, “Why would APX alarm spend this kind of money on three billboards only to leak how they internally refer to their customers as accounts?” In my minds eye, I could imagine two APX Alarm employees having a discussion:

“Hey Bob! How many accounts did you get this week?”
“Well, Judy. I’m proud to say that I got three accounts before Thursday”

As I pulled up to the office and hurried to my desk, I looked to for some guidance. defined “accounts” as “a business relation in which credit is used”. That didn’t help me feel any better. In fact, I suddenly felt sorry for these “accounts” (not to mention fine folks who were number 125,001 and beyond as they were relegated to a solitary “+” symbol). Didn’t they deserve more than to be called accounts? Weren’t these alarm systems protecting their families, pets and homes and not merely their credit?

My thoughts then turned to two other examples: A company that used to internally refer to their customers as “Benjamins” as in Benjamin Franklin on the US $100 bill. To them customers were only money. This didn’t feel right either. I then thought of Disney. Disney refers to their customers as “guests” as in friends or family members staying in your home. I suddenly felt a little better…and strangely hungry for a $4 churro (I settled for a breath mint instead).

The lesson? If you are stepping out to speak with the public, make sure you leave your internal speak at home. Better yet, align your internal speak with words that do not have to be altered for the publics ears (like Disney’s “guests”).

Happy Wednesday everyone!