Some Ads Miss the Mark

National advertising campaigns don’t come cheap. The concept, production, placement and associated commissions add up quickly. Even a pure cable TV run will end up costing in the hundreds of thousands. So, if you are going to make that kind of investment, you want an ad that makes sense, gets the message across and produces results.

I’ve seen a few lately, though, that seem to miss the mark. Before discussing them, however, let me explain what I mean. Here, I’ll be talking about commercials that actually attempt to be relevant and convey a customer-conversion message. These are not off-the-wall concepts intended to score high on recall with little actual payoff.

First up is the Chevy Malibu. Their commercial promoting their precision engineering and assembly has a wonderfully rhythmic song playing in the background. The music choice obviously targets a certain age demographic—young professionals seeking something stylish and reliable. The problem comes in the selection itself. The song is called “Lazy Eye”, which many in the target audience will recognize. While making that connection is vital, associating your manufacturing with a lazy eye seems to be a bit disjointed. Sure, it may be a minor issue, but someone missed it. What else did they miss?

Next are two Maytag commercials. The company has a newish slogan, “Built Strong to Last Long.” It ties in well with their history. Maytag is known for reliability and lasting longer than its competitors. One of their early commercials with the new tagline shows the “Maytag Repairman” shooting baseballs into the front of a washer/dryer. Great visual. A newer commercial focuses on the dryer’s ability to remove wrinkles. It’s an admirable quality, but it has nothing to do with how strongly built it is or how long it will last. They need to do one of two things: either keep focusing on its strength and ability to last, or use additional messages to emphasize what else it does well. It is perfectly fine to use more than one tagline, based on the core message you are expressing.

The other Maytag spot focuses on what appears to be an annual sales event called “May is Maytag Month”. First, giving a sale a name like that creates a mouthful. In the ad itself, the copywriter and voiceover obviously struggle with it, making the ad sound confused and confusing. They overthought the alliteration and lost their way. If you can’t fix the copy to make it work, don’t be afraid to change the name. It’s better to flow properly than to stick to something cute.

Last are the spots for Laughing Cow cheese. A woman sets up the premise (such as making sure her garden is beautiful, though she can’t tell because it was more effort than her body could handle), then voiceover swoops in to remind us that we can’t always have everything we want…except with Laughing Cow. OK. When you spend most of your precious screen time setting up a scene that appears to lead into a pain reliever ad, cheese is the furthest thing from your mind. Unless it has some bizarre analgesic property. The commercial is a stretch at best. Focus more on the cheese and less on unassociated stories.

When you are looking at anything that is going to reach a customer, make sure that what you are using to represent you and your message is consistent with who you are and what your message says. Don’t let “creativity” hijack your core brand promise.

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