Goodbye, Mr. Spock. Thanks for the Marketing Lessons.
Marketers love quoting Mr. Spock. His logic boils down problems. Solutions appear that seem obvious. Not first to arrive at the golf course? "Vulcan nerve-pinch" the competitor down and reach the finish line of the "race." Advertisers were among millions who lost a friend on Friday morning when Leonard Nimoy, the actor most famous as Mr. Spock on "Star Trek," died in his Los Angeles home of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83.
Nimoy seemed to have a sense of humor about his role in the public eye that advertisers liked to play up, especially in the 2013 Audi S7 commercial titled "The Challenge." (More recently, Nimoy and actor William Shatner—"Captain Kirk"—appeared in an October 2014 Volkswagen ad in German.)
In the Audi spot, Nimoy beats actor Zachary Quinto, the Spock in recent "Star Trek" movies, at an online game of chess. In return, Quinto challenges Nimoy to a race to the club to play golf.
"Stand by to have your wallet emptied by a tractor beam," Nimoy says.
Of course, the Audi beats Nimoy's Mercedes, but Nimoy isn't cowed.
He knocks Quinto over and strolls into the club first. At nearly 2 p.m. Eastern on Friday, the YouTube video had nearly 9 million views.
It's this logic that makes direct marketers love Nimoy/Spock so. A Google search of "Spock" and "marketing" on Friday afternoon returned "about 466,000 results in 0.32 seconds." Here's a sample of what marketers say he taught them:
1. Copywriting. "Use logic to define your goals," to develop a plan of action and to measure progress, writes Sonia Simone in Copyblogger in a post titled "The Mr. Spock Guide to Effective Blogging."
"When I sat down to write about the need for rational, logical planning for your blog, what better model could I have found," she asks. "Sure, blogs are personal, emotional constructions. But if your blog isn't performing the way you want it to, try using a little Vulcan logic to move it in the right direction."