Advertising Bedtime Stories

Not that I have a lot of time to sit and mull these types of things over, but have you ever posed this question: What would be the hardest product, service, or, for lack of a better term, "thing" to advertise?

A political entity? A war? A religion? A country? An unpopular cause? A lawyer? What about the advertising industry itself?

All seemingly tough, but all of the above have been successfully cut and rendered by the wizards of Madison Avenue (more details on that in another blog at another time).

I submit to you, dear reader, that the seemingly "easy sells" are the most difficult. I'm talking about the basics. The things of everyday life. Soap, toothpaste, bread, beer, water, clothing, and the like.

Difficult how? Because of consumers’ indifference to products that are all too common and all too commonly used. Difficult because of the sheer volume and variety of those products. Difficult because even a tenth of a tenth of a point of market share could make or break a company or manufacturer. And each of those "tenths of a tenths" of gain will come at a cost, that on paper, might not appear to be such a wise return on the investment.

So with that advertising horror story set in place, here are the bedtime stories that big ad execs tell their little junior advertising execs as they tuck them into their desks before those long all nighters...

To be fair, they're not really stories as much as they are headlines or slogans attached to some of the most successful (or famous) campaigns for all types of products. Proving, once again, that simple is not only better, it's memorable.

In no particular order, my top 25½ advertising headlines or slogans of all time:

The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hands.

Tastes great. Less filling. / Everything you always wanted in a beer and less.

Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.

Coke adds life.

Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.

The Uncola.

Try it, you'll like it.

When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.

Drivers wanted.

Reach out and touch someone.

The quicker thicker picker-upper.

We try harder.

The ultimate driving machine.

Let your fingers do the walking.

Just do it.

Don't leave home without it.

You're in good hands with Allstate.

Sometimes you feel like a nut; sometimes you don't.

It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

Please don't squeeze the Charmin!

M'm! M'm! Good!

Betcha can't eat just one.

Nothing runs like a Deere.

Think small.

Think different.

Goodnight. Sleep tight. Don't let the media buyers bite.
Gary LoBue Jr / Art Director / The Russo Group

When Cost Doesn’t Matter – Understanding Your Customer’s Values

I dread Memorial Day weekend. To tell you the truth, as I got ready for work this morning, I was relieved it was over. No, the family barbeque wasn’t a disaster, thank you for asking. It was the ads. The all-pervading, all-annoying Memorial Day weekend ads.

Even if I’d been in the market for a new loveseat or a used pickup truck I’d have been bothered, because every Memorial Day it becomes clearer to me how many advertising dollars are being wasted in this country, how many companies are paying good money to look absolutely ridiculous in front of countless consumers, 2-3 times every hour.

Retailers advertise their lowest prices ever – their once in a lifetime sales – again. They dress up as veterans, beer bellies camouflaged under brand new fatigues, and proceed to yell through bullhorns, shout commands into the camera, and stomp all over the furniture customers are now supposed to be enticed to buy.

It’s insulting really, that these businesses think consumers are so easily fooled, or, worse yet, entertained. They don’t understand what people really want, and they’re unwilling to consider that perhaps finding something “free” or “on clearance” isn’t what’s most important to today’s buyer.

Participants of focus groups I’ve conducted admit that although they might be fooled once by antics ads, after they’ve gone into a store and seen how few bargains are really available, they make a promise never to return. In fact, they often leave with a bit of animosity and proceed to tell their family and friends where not to shop.

So what do they care about? Here’s a start – saved time, not money. Most people understand that they’re going to have to spend a bit to get something of worth. They’re okay with that, in fact they’ll view it as an investment, if they can shop at a store that caters to their need for real convenience, good service, and a commitment to take their business seriously. People hate headaches, and they’ll pay to avoid them.

Which is why I quite happily return to the agency every Tuesday following Memorial Day, more than willing to exchange a three day weekend for a little relief from Joe Jr. slapping reduction stickers on black and gold Kias.

Jaci Russo, Senior Partner/Account Planner
The Russo Group