Menu For A Successful TV Commercial Or Short Video

We’ve all seen :30 second epic TV spots that cost millions to produce but don’t do much for the brand.  If you want to avoid that fate, and have the best results (sales/brand building) for your advertising/video, then here are eight rules to follow:

  1. Have specific goals for each spot/video.
  2. The product/brand must be the hero.
  3. The creative must evoke emotion; humor is best, nostalgia next best.
  4. You must hook the viewer with something bold within the first 60 frames (two seconds).
  5. For a :30 second spot, you should make it clear within the first eight seconds what is the product/brand you’re promoting.  This can be done visually or aurally.
  6. The product/brand must be seen or heard about at least five times within the :30 second spot.
  7. Never expose the TV spot to the same audience more than 16 times over the life of the commercial … it will begin to irritate customers and your impact will be negative instead of positive.
  8. Measure its effectiveness and adopt or adapt.

Here are two very different spots, one new, one old, and I’ll let you decide which one does a better job building its brand:

    Recycling Ants

One way of deciding if the commercial worked for the brand is to see how you describe ithe commercial after its viewing … is the brand in your description, or was it irrelevant to the description of the spot?

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Eight Principles of Fault-Line Marketing

If you’ve been actively involved in marketing for at least six months, then you’ve run into the phrase “fundamental discontinuity”.  For marketing purposes, this means your industry/your business/your product jumps to a new level without typical straight line evolution. Everybody wants to bring something to market representing a fundamental discontinuity with the past/present, and leap ahead of the competition … but how do you do that?  I call it “Fault-line Marketing”, and here are its eight principles:

  1. Be prepared to expend about the same amount of energy an earthquake gives off.  Remember Edison’s quote about 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

    Thomas Alva Edison

  2. Attack the weak spots.  Research where the market is most susceptible to change; soft spots in your market’s core vulnerable to exponential change, e.g. weak service, weak quality, weak delivery times, weak product adaptability, unmet needs, etc.
  3. Try, try again; tectonic plates never stop moving.  One more quote from Edison: “I didn’t fail, I just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.”
  4. To decide if it is really a fundamental discontinuity, test the magnitude of change and how disruptive it is, or will be.  That’s why seismographs and research firms exist.
  5. Market the change, not just the product.  Thousands of earthquakes happen everyday, but you only hear about the ones the News decide to cover.  Journalists cover them because of the change the quakes created, not just because they happened.
  6. Help the market understand the truth about what happened, and make it real to them; how it affects their personal/commercial lives.
  7. Aftershocks follow big quakes, so take advantage of them.  What are the ancillary opportunities others ignore because they are still focused on the big one?
  8. Aquifers are often under fault lines, just like resources are usually plentiful where change really exists.  Use those resources to accelerate growth, and explore the next fault line.

    San Adreas fault and Crystal Springs

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To Be A Great Marketer, Be A Great Client

Every company needs support to achieve greatness.  It goes beyond support from customers/investors/employees, and includes suppliers and service providers. One group that seems especially important is your marketing services agency. If you believe just paying them is enough to get their best, then you’ve probably not learned how to be a great client, and you’ve never achieved your company’s full marketing potential. 

I was lucky enough to learn about being a client from one of the best, Mike Roarty, former head of marketing at Anheuser-Busch.  During his tenure, the brewery and its agencies came up with “This Bud’s For You,” “Weekends Were Made For Michelob,” “Gimme A Light, A Bud Light,” “Spuds MacKenzie,” and many other great marketing programs. Mike won so many “Man of the Year” awards it would be difficult to note them all, but he is a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame, and was a Daytona 500 Grand Marshall, and Grand Marshall of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin, Ireland.

Michael J. Roarty

Here are ten ways Mike taught me to be a great client:

  1. Establish the rules of engagement first, and stick to them.  Bending the rules in your favor because “you’re the one with the checkbook” is not motivational.
  2. Clearly communicate what deliverables you expect to receive, when, and in which format.  Be willing to negotiate upfront, and be flexible with good reason.
  3. Give your marketing agency time to do their job.  You want to be treated like you are their only client, but you know you are not.
  4. Build in time for inevitable delays.  If you need it in four weeks, tell them you want it in three; if you want it by Christmas, tell them by Thanksgiving.  And as long as they tell you in advance it may be slightly late, don’t punish them, especially since you’ve already built-in time for the delay.
  5. Listen.  You can learn a lot from them if you’re not the only one talking, and it shows your respect for them.
  6. Always appreciate what they bring to the table.  Sometimes their work may not be spot on, but people who spend their lives selling creative ideas need reinforcement for their work.  Tell them “I see where you were going with this, and that would work in many situations, but have you thought about approaching it this way so we can get here?”  That should put them back on track without taking away their spirit.
  7. Be as specific as possible with your direction.  The clearer you are, the faster and better their work will be. Saying “I know what I like and that’s not it,” doesn’t move the ball down the field very far.
  8. Be available.  Access to you or your team during critical points in the process is vital to producing the end result you want.
  9. Reinforce great work and show your appreciation.  Instead of you being the one that is always taken to lunch, pick up the tab once in a while, invite them to your holiday party, or offer to recommend them to other companies.
  10. Be honest, but understand honesty is only one virtue.  Honesty builds trust which builds partnerships, but being humble, generous, and considerate helps the partnership flourish.

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Social Media – One Big Trade Show?

Ever get the feeling that social media is turning into one big trade show …  you know the kind I mean, where 90% of the booth traffic is other exhibitors and/or competitors, and not necessarily your customers.  It’s great to have friends and followers, but customers pay the bills.So if you are living the 90/10 experience, what can you do?  Here are a couple of ideas, and I’d love to hear more:

  • First, have a plan with specific objectives, both quantitative and qualitative;
  • As with any good trade show, send special invitations to your customers, current and potential, to your booth (sites);
  • Be bold; with hundreds of booths or millions of sites, find a way to stand out;
  • With the invitation, make sure they know it’s a good use of their time if they visit;
  • Eye candy is nice, but real customers come for knowledge/deals/rewards/ etc.;
  • Give them a reason to return, and let them know when they should and how often;
  • Make it easy to close them on the spot; time and distance create distraction and disinterest;
  • Let them know where else you can be found that better fits their schedule or interests;
  • Make them know you appreciate their business;
  • Measure your results, and then adopt or adapt.

As a colleague in the Advertising business used to say about trade shows, “If you can’t make a sale, at least make a friend!”

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Lady Gaga Marketing 1O1

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, a.k.a. Lady Gaga, and her management/creative team of Matt Williams, Troy Carter, and Vincent Herbert, have created a marketing template for today.  They base it on five simple things:

Lady Gaga

  1. You have to have the goods – gimmicks-only won’t do.  Lady Gaga is an exceptionally talented pianist/musician who writes all of her songs.  She wasn’t created by a record label or a producer, she told them what she was going to do and how she’d do it.
  2. Nothing is more important to her than customers/fans because without them everything else is irrelevant. In a recent Vanity Fair article she said,  “How could I possibly be better for you?  That’s all I keep thinking: I just want to be better for you.” She is the record holder with 32 million Facebook friends.
  3. Have a plan.  Nothing she does is thoughtless.  The more spontaneous she seems, the clearer it is her actions are well planned.
  4. Deliver on the Brand promises. This is the seed that grows trust to create the product/customer bond. Lady Gaga is Lady Gaga everywhere, always.
  5. Be bold; very bold.   With all the noise and distraction in the marketplace, your messages have to stand out.
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What Would Marshall McLuhan Say?

While in college I had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion of communication theorists featuring Marshall McLuhan and Walter Ong.  To jog your memory, Marshall McLuhan is the guy who said “The medium is the massage,”   i.e., each medium produces a different “massage” or “effect” on the human sensorium (the place in the human brain to which impressions from the external world are conveyed and perceived). He also had a cameo role in Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall.”

So enough with the background … Assuming social media is not a “medium” by rather an aggregation of  community conversation mostly viewed on personal/individual communication devices, (e.g. computer screens, cell phone screens, portable notebook screens, etc.); often having a different format, (e.g. Facebook page, Twitter tweet, YouTube video); how do the various channels of social media affect (massage) the way the world is perceived (observed; recognized; understood; felt; sensed; realized; etc.), and what does that mean for us as marketers?

I am not talking about the significant body of work saying increased viewing of computer screens leads to obesity and bad backs.  Having a bad back or being obese may have an effect on how I view the world, but that is not what I am interested it.  I’m interested in how social media impacts the way the world “shows up” for people, and how that dictates/affects their behavior in it.

This answer may be above my pay grade, so here are a few questions to begin the conversation:

  • If most conversations using social media are a series of monologues, e.g. I talk, then you talk, then I talk, then you talk, without body language or interruptions, am I likely to shy away from actual physical contact during communication because the form/forum is less predictable and controlled, i.e. less safe?
  • Will people begin to demonstrate an openness to the world because much of their personal information is already in play, so why not?
  • Will the physical shopping experience become an exercise in frustration with its limited information (salesperson) and limited inventory (on the shelves), compared to online available information/discussion and inventory, and will most people move from the point of sale to the point of convenience?
  • Will social media lead to an “Island” mentality where people can survive perfectly well with little or limited physical social contact?

I’m not quite sure what the answers are, but I am convinced social media will have a much greater impact on marketers then just the obvious buying and servicing online.

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Impact Customer Behavior By Gain, Pain, Or Rules Change

There are three ways to affect customer behavior:

  • Gain – They will experience an advantage by doing things differently.
  • Pain – They will avoid or lessen negative consequences.
  • Rules Change – It is the way things are done within their operational universe.

It’s that simple.  If  one of those doesn’t happen for your customers, don’t expect their behavior to be different.  

To see a substantial or immediate difference, you must raise the degree of Gain, Pain, or Rules Change.  Here are three examples:

  1. Substantial Gain – eCommerce – Customers can buy what they want, when they want it, quickly and at a good price.
  2. Immediate Pain – Gasoline over $4.00/gal. – Just ask the car manufacturers how much and how quickly customer behavior changed.
  3. Immediate Rules Change – Government incentive for first-time home buyers – When it went away, existing home sales dropped 27%.

Gasoline over $4.00 per gallon

These were three macro-examples, but the idea translates to each market, each company.  Do you use pricing or give-aways to promote gain?  Is scarcity a “pain” tool you can utilize?  Is there a way to revise distributor rules to incent sales?

Check your marketing plan.  Are Gain, Pain, or Rules Change in it?  If not, don’t expect to impact your customers’ behavior.

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