How often have you watched a TV commercial, laughed at it, but at the end you really couldn’t remember what it was advertising?
I would venture to guess that this happens far too often. Agencies or advertisers get caught up in the creative and lose sight of the message. Yes, the ads are entertaining and may even become part of our pop culture, but they aren’t very effective at selling.
Case in point: Old Spice Body Wash. Who hasn’t seen this wildly amusing ad starring the guy with the washboard abs? And this follow-up ad? We’ve all seen them but how many of us are buying the body wash? It seems not very many. According to this article on msnbc.com, sales of the body wash have actually fallen 7% this year. Is this because the ad actually distracts from the product or because of Old Spice’s “old timer” image and ability to conjure up images of your grandfather putting on his aftershave? We may never know, but either way, the commercial isn’t doing its job.
There are countless commercials that fall victim to the same offense. How about those creepy ads for Boost Mobile? Would that ad really make you want to run out and get a phone from them? There are too many examples of “too clever for their own good” ads to count. How about the obscure ads for Monster.com that appear in every Super Bowl? I think they just leave most people scratching their heads.
I’m not saying you can’t be clever. This spot for Bud Light is really funny, but I think you’re made very aware of the product it’s hawking, right from the start. This one works.
Go ahead and have some fun but please make sure your advertising delivers a clear message. That way you and your CFO will both be smiling at the next management meeting.