It seems like in order to find one great ad, you have to watch 20 “for the low low price of $19.95” commercials. Many brand advertisements fall short of the mark because of common mistakes that can be easily avoided. For instance, perform adequate customer research and testing before signing on a spokesperson.
We have dug through the annals of web and advertising history to find advertising blunders and successes that you can learn from.
1. Let’s talk quantum mechanics
Unless you already have die-hard brand advocates, it’s not just about you. Chances are, if you’re a local law firm, not many people are gripping to their edge of their seats waiting to see your ad. Think about going to a holiday party and spending twenty minutes talking about quantum mechanics. Crickets anyone? To appeal to your customer, understand what they enjoy and build off of it.
2. Do you like me? Circle yes or no.
Ask for permission. Seth Godin is a huge proponent of permission marketing — where brands ask instead of push. Ask your clients whether they want your monthly newsletter, don’t just send it because you can. Furthermore, allow them to opt-out. If you don’t ask for permission, you risk the chance of appearing as a spammer, not a meaningful brand.
3. “I love Whole Foods” – Anonymous CEO…
Econsultancy’s “21 ways to commit brand suicide in the 21st Century,” cites Whole Foods CEO John Mackey to illustrate deceptive marketing practices. “Over a seven year period – [Mackey] posted anonymous comments on Yahoo’s stock market forums to criticise a competitor (while calling himself ‘cute’ in the process). Funny and embarrassing in equal measure. And also deceptive: the comments prompted an SEC investigation. He was cleared, he apologised (kind of), but the damage was done.” Overinflating your brand image like Mackey can only lead to a bitter end — tarnishing your brand image and reputation along the way. Remember, next time a critic slams your brand, consider a thoughtful, genuine response, not respond as an “anonymous loyal customer.”
4. The ol’ switcheroo
Costumers don’t like the ol’ switcheroo. While brand advertising should highlight the selling points of your brand, it should not overinflate claims. How disappointing is it to go to the “most inexpensive furniture store in town” to find out prices are the exact same down the street? Or, consider Apple fans’ outrage when the developer cut $200 off the iPhone shortly after its release.
5. I’m smart your dumb. I’m big your little… Take that!
Starting “turf wars” can show customers the true maturity of the company leadership. For instance, Verizon’s battle with AT&T over maps. While turf wars try to position the competition in a negative light, it engenders ill-will — a turn off to many consumers. No one liked the bully in high school so what makes you think they will like bullying with their favorite brands? Moreover, turf wars advertise the competition. Instead of using precious, expensive advertising space for your competition, utilize that space for your brand.
6. Putting customers in epileptic shock
Standing out doesn’t mean adding a thick layer of flash, sparkle, boom, pow to your brand advertising. To stand out, create a unique environment for your customer. You can interest your target audience if you appeal to their lifestyle. For instance, EA sports created a banner advertisement that rolled into a racing game. All those users playing the game in the banner ad compete for prizes. EA’s campaign appealed to the lifestyle of their target audience while engaging them in a meaningful way.
7. What does Bob Dylan and a lingerie have in common?
While you might want a mascot or famous celebrity to advertise your brand, consider if they are right for the job. In an epic misstep, Victoria Secret signed on the weathered, old Bob Dylan as lingerie’s mouthpiece. While it might have made for a funny joke, do women buying sexy underwear want to imagine the aging Dylan? If anything, the lingerie brand created an unsettling feeling in the stomachs of its audience.
Successfully promote and market your creative ideas with an online degree in advertising.