Category Archives: advertising

Indecent Exposure

Oblivious to AdvertisingThe other night, my parents visited for dinner. As the night was coming to a close, I noticed something in my house that I’d never noticed before. It was a white box on the wall, near the fireplace. My dad and I fiddled with it, until the white box fell off the wall, and the electronics of this mysterious gizmo were exposed. We still didn’t know what it was. Then my wife suggested that it might be where the actual sound of the doorbell emanates. I tested it, and she was right.

I’ve lived in this house now for more than two years. I have very conservatively walked past this white box 12,000 times. I’ve never noticed it, never looked for it, never thought about it.

Here’s the point: It doesn’t matter how much exposure you get with your audience if they don’t care about what you’re exposing them to. They’ll still never notice you.

Similar posts on Brett’s Blog:

  1. Advertising Is Not Dead
  2. What Can 30 Seconds Do?

Diet Coke’s ‘Sparkle’ Ad Makes a Comeback

Perhaps you’ve seen this ad make a comeback in the rotation of some of your favorite shows lately:


It’s a catchy commercial, but what’s special is that it originally took the screen in Spring 2005. Now, three years later, it’s made a comeback.

So, what’s that tell us? Is Diet Coke lacking the creative juices to improve with something new, or are they wise enough to go back to something that, apparrently, worked? What do you think?

A Boring Meal is Like Beating Your Wife

You’ve got to read this, for a good laugh and a little perspective. Who knew that a decline in spousal abuse would lead to the new dawn of advertising (and soups).

The sad thing is that the ad clearly communicates that it’s the wife’s fault that the husband is yawning at the dinner table. It’s probably cuz he’s so out of shape now since he’s not spending so much time smacking his wife around.

This was only 60 years ago . . . .

Advertising Is Not Dead

With all the praise for social media and New Marketing being everyone’s favorite blog topic, I think it’s important to not completely bury traditional advertising (broadcast and print, namely).

Advertising is not dead; however, . . . .

  • what was once expected from advertising is dead.
  • what was considered good advertising is dead.
  • what was considered the purpose of advertising is dead.
  • what was controllable about advertising is dead.

The reason traditional advertising is not dead is because people still watch TV, they still listen to radio, and they still read magazines and newspapers. Especially certain demographics that many products are targeted to.

At the same time, the reason most traditional advertising isn’t working as well is because it’s still being used in a traditional way.

What’s really happened is that advertising has been discovered as a tactic, a means to an end. In the 60s, 70s and 80s, it was the goal. Good advertising = successful product.

Now, you have to come up with other goals. Real goals. Then you have to figure out how to get there. If traditional advertising can help you get there, then by all means, do it.

Burger King has appeared successful in leveraging some of the newer advertising tactics in the last few years, finding ways to drive interaction to websites, engaging social media and even getting ‘The King’ into some video games. But I can tell you that, if I’m driving down the highway, starving to death, and I see a billboard with a Whopper on it, telling me there’s a Burger King at the next exit, I’m stopping. And it’s not because of those freaky King commercials or the Simponsize Me campaign. It’s because I received a relevant message at the right place and at the right time.

Which might be the simplest way  to define good advertising: relevant message + interested target + right place + right time = good ad.

If we can look at advertising as making an impression on the viewer, and then pointing to some next step, then it can still work. If we can advertise in specific media while not annoying the viewer, but rather somehow engaging them, I think it can still work. If we can accept that traditional advertising is going to cost more per conversion (due to Tivo and the mute button and shorter attention spans), then it can still work. If we can see advertising as only part of the process and not the whole shebang, then it can still work.

Most of all, if we can offer something worth advertising, and then find a way to communicate it the way the audience wants to receive it, then it can still work.

Update at 4:30 on March 3: Here’s a very relevant post by Paul commenting on a presentation by Les. Read both – they’re good and apply to what I’m trying to say above.

Lipitor, Pfizer Pulling the Dr. Jarvik Ad

You’ve seen these commercials. The ones with the creepy looking guy who had something to do with making an artificial heart, and now he’s a an assumed expert on cholesterol. I hate these commercials.

However, I’m in favor of what Pfizer is doing about them, and how they’re doing it. It seems the ads have been a little misleading, so Pfizer is pulling them.

I’m giving Pfizer the benefit of the doubt on this one. OK, so Dr. Gargoyle isn’t a practicing doctor. That doesn’t erase his credentials and accomplishments from the past, and that’s all the commercial has touted. Stunt double to row the boat? Maybe that’s a shot they added later when Jarvik wasn’t available.

They’re pulling it, no questions asked. At least on the surface.

Regardless, they’re doing the right thing:

The way in which we presented Dr. Jarvik in these ads has, unfortunately, led to misimpressions and distractions from our primary goal of encouraging patient and physician dialogue on the leading cause of death in the world — cardiovascular disease. We regret this,” Ian Read, Pfizer’s president of worldwide pharmaceutical operations, said in a statement.

Is a Super Bowl ad worth it?

I’ve got my own opinions on this, but I thought I would collect some of your opinions before digging into the topic myself.

Knowing that a 30 sec. ad during this year’s Super Bowl cost $2.7 mil., the question on the table is . . . .

Is it worth it?

What Can 30 Seconds Do?

What can a 30 second TV spot accomplish? A radio spot? How about a half-page, full-color ad in a magazine? Or maybe a banner at a sports stadium?

The answer: Not everything.

An ad in any medium cannot completely communicate the full essence of your product or company. So stop trying to make it do just that. It inevitably leads to ads that really, really suck. Words get crammed into a tight space. Voice-overs talk faster and mix messages. And the only thing advertised is confusion.

So what can ads do?

The answer: Something. Specifically, something specific. So pick a specific message for a specific target, and you might actually get something out of that 30 seconds.

Similar Posts on Brett’s Blog:

  1. Viva Viagra
  2. 12 Types of Advertisements

Video Advertising is Not TV Advertising on the Web

Just read an article by Rory J. Thompson on advertising during online video content in BrandWeek discussing how video content is “expected to grow the fastest in 2008, according to eMarketer, New York.”

Makes sense, but this quote by Kris Oser, direcotr of strategic communications at eMarketer, doesn’t:

Mainstream advertisers are more comfortable with traditional ads, but they know eyeballs are moving online. Creating commercials is something they understand. Now they can just do them online.”

What we marketers often misunderstand is that a new medium (in this case, the web, and specifically social media/web video) doesn’t just give you a new joint to post your product, but it also requires a whole new approach, and maybe a whole new product.

FDR’s fireside chats were revolutionary because it was a new thing optimized for the medium (the radio).

JFK’s TV debate with Nixon was revolutionary because it was a new approach to campaigning that fit the medium (TV).

The only Ron Paul is still involved in the current presidential race is because of how his revolutionist message fits his revolutionist audience who can easily find him on the new medium (the web).

Seth Godin is appropriately calling this misunderstanding a Meatball Sundae these days, which feels about right (it’s a pretty good book – give it a read/listen).

You can’t just throw traditional commercials online and wait for them to work. There’s a reason we fast-forward through them on TV now – we don’t want to watch them.

You need a new approach to how you make commercials specifically for the web.

Yellow Pages Advertising is Still Good Advertising

I guess the Ad Guru knows a thing or two.

Reading the findings of a recent study on, I was surprised to see just how successful YellowBook advertising still is in a world supposedly driven by the almighty web.

Some other morsels from the study:

  • 82% of online local searchers follow up offline, via an in-store visit, phone call, or purchase; of these searchers, 61% went on to make purchases.
  • Traditional advertising triggers branded online searches:
    • Between 60% and 90% of searches for heavily advertised categories such as pizza, insurance, banks and financial institutions were branded
    • 30-50% of keyword searches were general in nature for low-branded categories, including Auto Service and Home Services.
  • A majority of local searchers – 60% – first go online for conducting a local search:
    • 30% of searchers use general search engines, such as Yahoo or Google.
    • 17% use internet yellow pages (IYPs)
    • 13% use local search sites, such as Citysearch.

What does it mean? There are all kinds of takes. For one, it only fortifies the popular belief that it’s small, local business that can actually grow the most due to “New” Marketing. Secondly, it gives new value to traditional advertising. If an ad leads to a branded search, and 60% of the time that leads to a purchase, then that’s saying something.

Viva Viagra?

Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with the corniest commercial of the year:

Nothing manlier than sitting in a shed with a bunch of guys singing about what I need to put more lead in my pencil.

As of this post, the different variations of the ad have been viewed more than 200,000, and obviously parodied plenty.

So here’s my question to you: does Viagra and its ad agency think this is a legitimate commercial, or is it corny on purpose so we bloggers spread the word? Do you think it works?