Two Extraordinary Automobile Ads
Maybe it’s time to fire the agencyVol. 6, Issue No. 11 | June 8, 2010 By Denny Hatch
IN THE NEWSOUR SPEAKERS CAN CREATE AN INTERESTING SOUND. SILENCE.
Most speakers only create sound. Ours, on the other hand, can also take it away. Microphones inside the cabin constantly monitor unwanted engine noise. When noise is detected, opposing frequencies are broadcast through the speakers to eliminate it, literally fighting sound with sound. The result is dramatically reduced engine noise for a quieter, more comfortable cabin. Active Sound Control in the Acura TSX V-6. The most innovative thinking you'll find, you'll find in an Acura. Learn more at acura.com.
—Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
The New York Times Magazine, Sunday, May 30, 2010
Now click on the first illustration at right in the media player and you can see the layout.
The type: 12-point for the subhead in mid-page and 8-point body copy—a teeny, unreadable band of copy across the middle of the page.
Cost of the ad: $107,075.
This Honda ad is a lame attempt to capture the consumer’s attention with a single, ill-written unique selling proposition (USP) that is the entire premise of the ad:
“The Acura car is very quiet.”
The ad breaks every rule in the book.
The Great Jay Abraham
One of the savviest and most fun Energizer bunnies in the world of marketing is an elfin figure who sports a full head of black hair (maybe it’s gray by now) plus a mustache and neatly trimmed beard—West Coast wizard Jay Abraham. He puts on $25,000 marketing seminars and routinely sells them out. If you decide to leave after the first day, he’ll give you all your money back. Few students take him up on it. He’s made zillions for a legion of clients. From Jay’s website:
Let me tell you a story. You may have heard it before, but it's a classic example of the power of preemptive advertising … Back in 1919, Schlitz beer was the #10 beer in the marketplace. Claude Hopkins [1866-1932], the classic marketing strategist after whom I've patterned my life, was called in to salvage the marketing of this #10 beer and lift it to success.
When he walked into the brewery, the first thing he did was learn how the beer was made. He toured the facilities and he saw that Schlitz was located right on the banks of one of the Great Lakes. And even though they were right there with this unlimited water source, they had dug five, 4,000-foot artesian wells right next to Lake Michigan because they wanted pure water.
The brewers showed Claude a mother yeast cell that was a result of about 2,500 different experiments that had been done to find the quintessential yeast to make the proper taste. They showed him five different, three-foot-thick, plate glass rooms where beer was condensed and redistilled and re-condensed for purity. They showed him the tasters that tasted the beer five different times. They showed him where the bottles were cleaned and re-cleaned 12 times. They showed him the whole process. At the end, he was incredulous.
Takeaways to Consider
- Can you create a message that enables you to gain a preemptive advantage over your competitors?
- Research, research, research!
- “If you are too lazy to do this kind of' homework, you may occasionally, luck into a successful campaign, but you will run the risk of skidding about on what my brother Francis called ‘the slippery surface of irrelevant brilliance.’”
- “See what others have done, find those direct mailings [and advertisements] that have proved successful and steal smart.”
- “When you once get a person’s attention, then is the time to accomplish all you can ever hope with him. Bring all your good arguments to bear. Cover every phase of your subject. One fact appeals to some, one to another.”
- “Type smaller than 9 point is difficult for most people to read.”
- Never use sans serif type in body copy; it is the most difficult to read
- Never run copy over a colored background.
- “Every time we get creative, we lose money.”
—Ed McCabe, former president, RCA Record Club
- “If it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative.”
—Benton & Bowles motto in the 1930s and 1940s