Posted on June 30, 2014 by Kila Harwick
With the booming popularity of DVR’s, it would seem like commercials are a thing of the past. If this is true, why would large companies still want to promote products using this form of advertising? The answer is simple: because they work. Ever been at the movie theater and swear to yourself that you wouldn’t buy a popcorn and Coke only to–moments later–curse the mouth-watering ad you saw during the previews that made you purchase the large combo pack? Yeah, I’ve been there too.
When I have to watch the commercials, say at the theater, or during the Super Bowl (or any live show), I have come to realize that commercials really do work. No, I may not want to buy a Soul after watching those hamsters dance, but the commercial did do one thing important. They got me thinking and later talking about Kia. What the heck is the point of a hamster that loses weight and drives a Kia? I don’t know, but I am talking about Kia now.
Although some would argue then, that bad publicity is still good because it gets the name out, I believe commercials can also have a negative effect on the consumer. This negativity actually pushes away business. So what are these ads and commercials that make me flip out, or just flip the channel? Follow along as I take you through some of the worst advertising pieces and explain the do’s and don’ts of their promotional attempt.
PITCH YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE, WITHOUT GROSSING ME OUT.
Did you just eat? If so, don’t watch this ad! It seriously made me sick to my stomach. Yes, sometimes there are gross things that happen to our bodies, but is there a better way to illustrate the relief this product provides? I am pretty sure I will never remember the name of this product because all I can think about is how gross the human foot really can be. Please, please do not be so graphic!
GENERATE EMOTION, BUT ONLY GOOD ONES. NO SADNESS OR GUILT. COME ON GET HAPPY!
Whenever I start to hear Sarah McLachlan’s “Arms of the Angel,” I am in a mad panic to find the remote to turn the channel to something—ANYTHING less depressing. I just can’t take watching animal after animal being abused. This commercial doesn’t make me want to donate to the cause. It makes me want to kill my flat screen and buy my dog lots and lots of treats! If I followed through with my emotions, I would have to use my $18.00 (times one hundred) and buy a new television, so I wouldn’t have any money to donate or buy my dog treats which could be considered animal abuse if you ask my mom.
If you are going to pull at my heart strings, make sure you yank at the ones that will give you a positive response, like Budweiser does with its Clydesdale and Labrador retriever “puppy love” commercials. (WARNING: Be prepared for cute overload when watching those commercials.)
TELL ME WHAT YOU ARE PROMOTING. NO, REALLY. TELL ME WHAT YOU ARE PROMOTING.
I cannot tell you how many times I am completely annoyed after watching a commercial because I sat through the entire two minutes and I still don’t know what the point was! Xbox did a really good job of this with this ad. Luckily, I only wasted 30 seconds of my time, but it still bothers me nonetheless. First, no woman should ever make that face. Ever. Secondly, I never want to visualize I am looking at someone’s head where their brain should be. Why are there people living in there and watching movies? I am so confused. Apparently, this commercial is about the new technology with Xbox, but I am convinced it’s about some robot lady. Either way, I don’t want to buy an Xbox, or watch movies from inside my head.
TELL A STORY. WAIT, TELL A RELEVANT STORY.
There are an unlimited amount of reasons this commercial makes me flip, but for the sake of really wanting to get to the next commercial (*Spolier Alert* Chipotle actually got it right) I will keep the Bud Light advert bashing to a minimum. I just feel like Bud Light is such an ordinary beer that it needs to show all of its ordinary drinkers that there is no way someone famous is going to hang out and party with you for an entire night just because you are carrying that brown bottle around like a trophy. Go ahead and make the new guy show up with a bottle of Cristal and have him drive a Ferrari F430, and THEN we can talk about gettin’ down with the celebs. These drinkers need to know that you can have twice as much fun without all of the glitz, glamour, and the green. All you truly need is a bottle of Bud to get this party started.
In an attempt to not be such a critical “Negative Nancy,” I would like to say that if you want to produce excellent story through a commercial, you should mimic Chipotle and its “Back to the Start” commercial. Through simple animation and guiding lyrics, we are shown that in the wake of new technological food production, Chipotle supports sustainable farming that still produces fresh and wholesome ingredients.
Oh, and don’t even get me started on their newest “Scarecrow” commercial. You can view it here and it might be even better than the previously mentioned ad. Though two different stories, they do the same things to the viewer. They hook you in with that simple animation that is pleasing to the eye. They have simple songs with lyrics that explain the story so that no boring dialogue is needed. They give you a simple person with a big, heart wrenching problem. Then, they show you how that simple person (like us) can help solve that big problem. They make him a hero and convince you that you can be one too, just by eating their products. Not only does it follow the classic storytelling must haves such as introduction, plot, climax, and conclusion, it also has all four points mentioned above. It showed food production without grossing me out. It generated just enough emotion to make me want to change my actions but not the channel. It was clear on what it was promoting- sustainable farming. Most importantly though, this advertisement told a short story that was entirely relevant and will continue to be to food consumers in the future. So now that Chipotle has successfully figured out how to reach their market (of anyone who eats food….so EVERYBODY) how will you reach yours?