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Don’t try to entertain me in your advertising

Clearly tell me why I should buy from you

Claude Hopkins, the author of Scientific Advertising, and one of the greatest marketing minds who ever lived, once stated, “People don’t buy from clowns.”

The same exact statement was echoed by David Ogilvy, who is often referred to as the “Father of Advertising.” They must be turning over in their graves after the blatant display of shock advertising by GoDaddy in the 2013 Super Bowl.

It didn’t take an advertising great to question this ad, which depicted a supermodel kissing a nerd in an attempt to illustrate beauty and technology working harmoniously together. Thousands of people worldwide used hashtag #NotBuyingIt to call out what they felt were sexist Super Bowl commercials, generating over 10,000 tweets and reaching 2 million plus people.

Before the Super Bowl, a Florida marketing agency surveyed 1,000 people about their opinions of the game’s advertisers and whether they would buy the brand. After the game, the firm surveyed to find out what people thought of buying a particular product or service. GoDaddy’s “The Kiss” decreased purchase intent by almost 12 percent.

I thought one of the goals of advertising was to enhance the brand and entice more people to buy your product.

We all have seen humor as a tool to break through the clutter of mundane advertising, but sometimes clear and straightforward can be equally effective, without the risk of brand erosion.  Sure, that gecko is awfully funny, but I don’t need to be entertained to convince me about what insurance coverage I need.

Nine hundred million dollars on advertising buys a lot of rating points to make any product a household name; it doesn’t mean that I’m going to buy it though.

It’s a moot point anyways, since no local advertiser has the deep pockets to buy their way into a market. National advertisers also have inflated creative budgets. They simply have bigger resources to try to entertain us. But local advertisers do not have the same luxury and need to spend the lion’s-share of their budget on getting their message out.

At the same time, those local advertisers who think that they can pull off their own brand of entertainment often flop as badly as GoDaddy did.

So, don’t try to create some big charade in an attempt to make people buy from you. Instead, try this novel approach. Look your prospect directly in the eyes (or look directly into the camera), and tell them in your own words why they should buy from you.

Explain the benefits they will receive, instead of bragging about yourself. No one needs childish cartoons and quirky pitch people telling them about the product. We’d rather hear directly from you. No longer do you need to “Send in the Clowns.”

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