For The Love of Advertising: The V-Day Edition

Feb 14, 2014

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Oh hello, I didn’t notice you there. I was just shaving my back hair getting ready for the big day. No, not Presidents Day…the sexier holiday that goes by the street name of V-Day. Are you looking to impress a special someone of something (see Her) this Valentine’s Day with your knowledge of advertising? Well, that’s perfect, because advertising and dating are the same damn thing. I’m Jeremiah, the studly art director, and I’m going to guide you through your big date, and help you seal the deal with your newfound wealth of advertising smarts.

Imagine you are waiting at the bar for your date to show up. First things first, what do you do? You stalk the shit out of his/her Facebook profile. In advertising, we call this “Target Research” or some other fancy jibber-jabber. This is your step one…get creepy and learn everything you can about your consumer/date.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I hate that quote. If you see someone with blood splattered on their face and a T-shirt that reads, “kill ‘em all,” you’re not going to say to yourself, “Hey, I bet he’s a respectable human being…I’ll invite him over for dinner.” This is where the second step comes into play. You/the brand, must look approachable. If they see you looking like a value-brand from a mile away, you’ve failed and your date will move on to something a little classier. So make sure you’re working with something people aren’t turned off by…and if that is the case, go beyond your duty of advertising and offer to redesign the packaging or presentation of the product. It will only benefit you…like actually buying your “going out” clothes from somewhere other than Wal-Mart.

Moving on to the third step (not to be confused with third base). So, he/she decided to approach you and asks if you are “BudTheStud78.” Your palms become sweaty, and you instantly think of the many ways this could go wrong. You freak out and want to say, “Hi, I’m really cool. Please like me.” This sounds desperate, but this is how most brands sound on Facebook. Due to the immense amount of ads people are bombarded with today online, they are born with a bullshit detector. They can easily decipher your end goal, and that turns them off. In the case of your date, everyone knows what they want the end goal to be, but you still don’t have to act like it, so why would you in advertising? Act like a normal person. If you/the brand share the same interests, are entertaining, and seem genuine, they will like you. Some brands believe that every single post on social media should ultimately lead someone to buy their product. The problem is, they are sounding desperate again…don’t force it, be friendly, conversational, and eventually you’ll gain something bigger than a one-time buy…you’ll gain a brand-loyal consumer. Oh, or you’ll gain a girlfriend and/or boyfriend.

Finally, now that you don’t act like a needy jackass, people are starting to like you. Is now the time to put a ring on it, and ask them to buy your stuff? Yes…kind of. Today, people have the attention span of goldfish, and will not stick around to hear your sales pitch when they can instantly watch a video of a cat in a shark costume riding on a self-cleaning vacuum cleaner. THIS is who you are competing with now for attention. You are no longer just competing against other ads, but now everything on the ol’ webernets. So yes, you can ask people to buy your product, BUT…you better have a good/entertaining reason to ask for their time, cause these days, that is more valuable than money. The services that are booming now are the ones that work on your schedule. For example, with Netflix, in one sad and lonely, yet completely fulfilling weekend, you can catch up on all 7 seasons of Futurama…or re-watch 11 seasons of Cheers. Both worth it. The point being, don’t ask too much of the viewer; make it short, fun, and up to par with the world’s most engaging comedians today…cats.

Great! You did it! You were a sad sack and now you have a hit Super Bowl commercial…that’s right…I’m looking at you RadioShack. They knew people made fun of them, so they joined in, made fun of themselves, then entertained the audience, and once people were on their side, they gently told you why they are better now, like a teenager standing outside of your window at night with a boom box, asking for a second chance. And I tell ya what, Radio Shack…since I’m feeling sassy in time for V-Day, I’ll give you another chance, but don’t build me up buttercup, just to let me down.