DM 101: Make the Message Matter

A bad attitude may work, sometimes, if you are a blues' master. Not so much of you are an advertiser.

I am almost certain we have all seen some variation of this commercial – you know the one – that funny one … you know … the one where that guy does something really funny and then the girl … oh! … then the girl says something even funnier!  It’s hilarious, right?  And then, about twenty seconds after the commercial ends you think to yourself … that was really funny, that commercial for … for … who was that for?

Television commercials ain’t cheap, my fellow Awesome Direct Marketers, and one has to wonder about the prudence of spending however much that much is in order to merely entertain the viewer.

It could be worse, of course.  A company could spend a lot of money creating a commercial that left a negative image of the product for the viewer.  Think about those commercials for that pizza delivery company where they talk about how bad everyone’s cheesey breadsticks are … including … their own!  Sure, they spend the last part of the commercial telling us how they have since improved their product.  But, what’s the takeaway?  “Try our new breadsticks – they’re not nearly as awful as they used to be!” Seriously?!!

But, give the pizza guys credit – they tear themselves down and then at least try to build themselves back up for the viewer.  At least they didn’t do this:

This album cover hurt sales of the album. In other news, smashing your left hand with a sledgehammer hurts your left hand. Badly.

This album has become something of a classic in the forty-four years since its release … but, I say something of a classic because … well … there might have been a good reason why Howlin’ Wolf didn’t like it.  Either way, though, Chess Records was in the business of selling records and this didn’t help.  According to Marshall Chess, “I used negativity in the title, and it was a big lesson: You can’t say on the cover that the artist didn’t like the album. It didn’t really sell that well. But it was just an attempt. They were just experiments.”

Fair enough.  He says “experiments” and we direct marketers would say “tests.”  But, please, Awesome Direct Marketers, let Marshall Chess take one for the team and accept that telling people your product stinks is not a sound strategy.

The only message that matters is your product, your company, your service … and how it will benefit the person viewing your ad.  It’s that simple.  Customers don’t care if you (or your agency) are witty.  They don’t care if you feel guilty because your product used to be crappy.  All they want to know is that your product (service, whatever …) is going to make their life easier, greater, sexier … something!  That’s the message.  It matters!

Tim Burnell

About Tim Burnell

Tim Burnell, principal owner of Complete Medical Lists, has been helping clients reach their targeted markets through direct channels for over 20 years. He believes offering high quality data and unsurpassed service are the keys to Complete Medical’s success. He also believes all his CDs should be alphabetized by artist and then sorted by release date. Except for the Beatle CDs. They get sorted before all others.
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One Response to DM 101: Make the Message Matter

  1. Eric Woolf says:

    Hilarious ;-)