Brand Advertising: The Ultimate Advertising Conspiracy
By Troy Laughren
'Get our name before the people' the corporate advertisers cry - when a company has had a long hold on a market, brand advertising gives the illusion that it works. Consider however, that many of these corporations are ingrained in our very being... GM, Coca-Cola and General Foods to name a few. But because of their enormous size they can get away with spending billions of dollars on 'branding' or more correctly put 'brand advertising'... for a while anyway - they don't track their ads so they don't know what does or does not work. They throw money away hand-over-fist with no way of knowing if it actually accomplishes anything, and they do this year after year... its madness!
Take GM, instead of understanding what the consumer wants, they believe, like an ostrich with his head buried in the ground, that their BMW driving, highly educated MBA artist type advertising execs know what blue-collar, economy sized car shoppers want... ironically they have never walked a mile in their own prospects shoes but dictate how to communicate to them... and, in reality the only real dealings they've ever had with their target consumers' is the 'better-than' sneer they blaze as they zoom past them on their way to the country club to play golf with their peers, and talk about more stupid ways to waste advertising dollars...
GM has 600,000+ employees, does $192,604,000,000 ($192 Billion) per year in sales and has an annual advertising budget that exceeds $2 billion dollars. They can get away with squandering away billions of dollars (for awhile anyway)... Smaller sized businesses however, cannot.
Most sane businesses of any size cannot or would not allow such psychosis. Playing as if you have 2 billion dollars to waste is ridiculous (even if you do have it); it's futile and can only end in pain.
To understand the corporate lunacy just look at GM's master 'branding' plan.... in the spring of 2006, GM changed its Pontiac Grand Am branding slogan from 'Fuel For the Soul' to 'Action'. Both these branding slogans contain no real meaning for a consumer. Their formula; place a picture of a car, add the slogan 'action' with some corporate dribble and you've got what they call a great advertisement; I however would call it a clear example of advertising incompetency...
These types of ads don't sell, compel or even intrigue anyone, yet executives attempt to pass them off enthusiastically to their peers as great advertising all the time... and even crazier yet, is the fact that a highfalutin ad agency got paid millions of dollars to come up with the nonsense. No one will buy a car, think about buying a car or run to the dealer when wasteful advertisements boldly scream 'Action'.
Weak attempts to sell by innuendo have no chance of penetrating our thick advertising skin, for a brief moment they may possibly get our attention, making us somewhat aware of their product or service, but without clear benefits and reasons to care we will soon let their witty, or not so witty slogans drift out of our mind - or worse, push them deep into our psyche and toss it into a bright orange 'Never give this lame thing a second look' labeled toxic barrel and file it under 'garbage'...
Unfortunately many hard working business people learn and model their advertising after this wasteful corporate lunacy... It is truly sad.
Remember the 'award-winning' battery bunny ads? These hip, funny and clever ads have been running for over a decade, so we naturally and naively believe they must sell more and more batteries right?
Tell me, which battery does that little pink bunny promote?
Perhaps you know, maybe you don't... but in a consumer survey the majority of those polled said it was the Duracell bunny... Eveready however is the proud papa of that little pink bunny that keeps going and going... Another ironic branding twist of fate for that poor little pink bunny is the fact that in the 1990's - when the Energizer ads were all the rage - the only battery company to actually increase market share by any significant percent was Ray-O-Vac, and they didn't spend a single cent on TV advertising...
Branding, to get your name before the people, for the sake of branding is dim-witted and foolish. Before you allow anyone to convince you of 'Branding' for the sake of branding, make them prove branding with the results of tested and tracked ads.
In Reengineering Perception (sorry not available from this article excerpt) I'll show you how to use your brand as a platform for creating trust and rapport with consistency, rather than as a statement of arrogance... Harley-Davidson is a prime example of this arrogance... believing that they could do no wrong, the companies brand managers attempted to exert its brand power by selling perfume of all things under its Haley-Davidson brand. Needless to say it didn't work ... ill conceived ideas of this nature leave any rationally thinking human being shaking their head in disbelief.
The ultimate advertising conspiracy is that brand advertising can't be held accountable (measured, tracked & quantified), and therefore sales reps and advertising firms can get away with making outlandish self-serving claims like consumers must see your ad 7 times to remember it, or, 14 times before they will act on it... and to add insult to injury... the super big, huge, bewildering mind-boggling solution these advertising salespeople give... when ever replying to an advertisers' inquiry to any ads ineffectiveness is... YOU NEED MORE ADVERTISING... How convenient... and profitable for the media suppliers and advertising agencies... and fitting for the corporate brand managers who despite their gross incompetence secure their jobs once again...
If advertising cannot compel the current 'actively buying' consumers to act now, it surly won't compel them to act after 7 additional viewings of the same unconvincing, unpersuasive ad either. Later on when we go over the Market Pyramid (sorry not available from this article excerpt) you'll understand exactly why this is really a no-brainer and that branding for the sake of branding is hands-down the stupidest thing any advertiser can do, and thus it must be labeled as advertising's ultimate conspiracy... keep this all in mind the next time an advertising rep suggests that you brand your company name... instead of driving people to action.
Smart and profitable web site design is the single most important marketing concept, lead generation magnet, competition reducer, prospect closer, money generating tool that you'll ever encounter - its about positioning yourself as the only viable choice in the market, its about generating leads and working those leads, and so much more "Troy Laughren, CEO, Digital Authority, Inc.
We're always impressed with your attention to detail and beautiful designs. But I gotta tell you, you really out did yourself this time Troy. The new site is way more than any of us ever expected. I will continue recommending you to everyone!!!Stuart Laughlin, CEO, TestKingz Inc.