Here’s a suggestion for all you folks thinking about doing some advertising. It’s certainly not something that’s restricted to radio adverts, but this is where I last encountered it.
I went to a thingummy one time with my friend Smarty Pants, who, as the name might suggest, is Pretty Smart. Anyway, this thingummy was a presentation-a-magooey from this fellow called Roy Williams. He’s the Wizard of
words Ads. So The Wizard was talking about things that work in advertising and marketing, and things that Do Not. He talked about neurology; he talked about psycholinguistics. He talked a lot of stuff. And most of it was stuff that you already know, but probably just haven’t thought about.
I work in promotion and marketing, to a certain extent. I’ve done ads for print and radio and television. I’m a freaking STAR, people. A STAR. In fact, I’m so bloody famous, I need to hire a Sherpa to haul around my various accoutrements, and a bodyguard to make sure none of the bolsheviks accost me.
Here is something that Never Works in advertising. Never. The Wizard mentioned it, and I didn’t really think much of it, because I couldn’t imagine anyone actually doing it. But you know what? You’re doing it. And it’s Bad. It’s Really Bad.
This is it, are you ready? Here it is:
I don’t care if God Himself works for you, or if Jesus and Muhammed are your sales team. It doesn’t matter if Cyndi Lauper is your receptionist, or if my boyfriend Johnny Depp works in accounting. Mahatma Ghandi could be your stock boy, but you know what? (Take note here, because this is the important thing) I DO NOT PURCHASE PEOPLE AT YOUR STORE.
I shop at your store because of your *merchandise*. I shop there because I need/want your crap. Good service is a bonus, but it’s not the reason I choose your shop over that other guy’s shop.
Granted, if I walk in the door of your shop, and someone hits me in the face with a pool cue, there’s a good chance I won’t shop there again.
But I don’t really care if the girl working the til would rather be shagging her lover *anywhere else but here*. I don’t particularly care if the waiter is a jerk. I mean, if he slapped his wang down on the table and said “here’s your sausuage!”…okay, if he did that, I’d leave a HUGE tip…but generally, I don’t give a waiter’s wang about service. If it’s terrible service in a restaurant, I don’t tip. If I have to wait twenty minutes at the til, I generally ask someone (politely) if they’re available to help me.
Now, if I was in the market for purchasing “reliable, friendly people”, I might shop at your place of business. But really, I am not. In the market. For purchasing people. We don’t …actually…do that…anymore…in Canada.
In fact, when I hear an advert about how the best thing about a company is its employees or its people, I make a mental note NEVER TO SHOP THERE. Know why? Because if you can’t think of something awesome to say about your products, why the hell would I want to buy them?
“Never mind the air seeder, let me introduce you to Pam!”
Listen. Advertising isn’t inexpensive. Don’t make it cheap. You pay people who know what they’re doing (you clearly do not) to promote and market your stuff. I guarantee you dollars to doughnuts if a Creative Writer were to toss something like “Shop at Bob’s Big Organs because they have Great People” past a market focus group, the market focus group would all twist up their eyebrows in Consternation and say: “well, so what? I have great people at home, too, but they can’t sell me a Wurlitzer.”
So. Again. I do not purchase people. I purchase commodities. Sometimes service is a commodity, and that should be part of your *everyday business*. If you have to advertise that your staff are the nicest, most capable people in the industry, I immediately think there’s something wrong with your products.