David Freemantle once said: Feelings have a critical role in the way customers are influenced. And feelings of annoyance are not what you want your ads to create, are they? What brands advertisements do you find most annoying? There are more than a few, aren’t there? How about most of the Geico TV advertising? They mostly focus on the same message over and over along with very dull humor (if you can call it that). Their ability to influence is close to nil, isn’t it?
Check out our thoughts on creative marketing.
Today, I will deconstruct the Geico “Gameshow Host” ad, representative of most Geico TV Ads, and together we’ll learn why a message must resonate with your customer in order to be an influence. Miss the mark, even by a small amount and it will all be for naught … or worse. And annoying ads are much, much worse.
Related post: Brilliant Advertisements to Rise Above the Noise
Have you seen this ad? If not do a quick review as it is only a 30 second spot:
TV advertising … first mental impression
As the ad starts, two ball players are discussing Geico’s message of give me 15 seconds and I’ll save you 15 percent or more. We all know that the commercial reminds us. As if we could forget. This is the message of all Geico ads for the last 5 years, isn’t it?
No, the ad doesn’t surprise and grab your attention. And the repetition is one major part of the annoyance, isn’t it? The other part of the annoyance is the remaining 6-8 seconds of the ad, where the story is throwaway … more annoyance isn’t it? Most of the Geico ads have throwaway components, with little to no value add.
Types of TV advertising … Messages
You know what this is, don’t you? It has been used in just about all of Geico’s ads for the last several years, as we said earlier. Creative and entertaining? Not a chance. But there are two crushing reasons why the ad’s message fails to persuade.
3 Crushing Reasons Why the Geico ads Fail to Persuade
The ad answers a question no one was asking
The message is a HUGE disconnect for the viewer. I mean — most of us care whether Geico can save money on the policy. But there is no evidence that money can be saved on the policy. No customer referrals at all.
Now, I’m not suggesting that the Geico policy or price is a bad one. But the simple statement is potential customers just don’t know. If Geico was so sure about its claim about saving money they would save that they had xx calls last month and they saved an average of xx percent on xx percent of these policies. Now that would be something meaningful. Nor do I intend to offend any Geico policy owners out there. I’m just saying you can’t arm-twist your customer into believing that your product is something it’s not.
No positioning or value proposition defined
Your positioning is the current frame of reference. Make comparisons to your competitors if you can solidly substantiate the claim.
Geico certainly knows who its major competitors are … but totally ignores any comparisons at all. None, zilch in any of their ads.
And it never defines a unique selling point that truly discriminates themselves from the competition (other they can give you a quote in 15 minutes, that supposedly can save 15% or more. No evidence mind you. It is essential that you give your customers reasons to select you. Paint the picture of value … make the value stand out.
Geico strikes out on both positioning and value proposition.
Repetition of nonsense is still nonsense
The ad is part of a much larger campaign, so it could be defended with the breakfast cereal gambit (“sure, there’s no nutrition in the box, but when served with an apple and glass of orange juice, it’s part of a balanced breakfast”). There’s something to be said about staying “on brand,” but not to the exclusion of saying anything useful to anybody.
I’m not as much surprised as saddened that such nutty beliefs and misconceptions about advertising (and marketing overall) can lead otherwise smart, creative people to squander their effort, money and the patience of would-be consumers. I’m sure there are binders full of rationale for why it’s stunningly brilliant stuff, and there’ll be metrics that declare the spot a wild success. But believing those arguments, or valuing those outcomes, requires that you first ignore the four truisms I stated above.
Advertising used to be about communicating information that was memorable, meaningful and useful. By those measures, these Geico spots deliver only an unintended punch to Geico’s agents, who probably need to meet really high sales quotas. Doing so is going to require a lot more than people dancing around these annoying ads.
Heard enough? I rest my case.
So remember this:
It is not what advertising does with the consumer, it is what the consumer does after reading the advertisement. After looking over these TV ads … how much have you learned? Are you persuaded or annoyed by them?
So what’s the conclusion? The conclusion is there is no conclusion. There is only the next step. And that next step is completely up to you.
It’s up to you to keep improving your research in business ad designs. Lessons are all around you. In many situations, your competitor may be providing the ideas and or inspiration. But the key is in knowing that it is within you already.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new lessons.
When things go wrong, what’s most important is your next step.
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All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new ideas.
When things are not what you want them to be, what’s most important is your next step. Call today.
Test. Learn. Improve. Repeat.
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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