Pricing a video project is a lot like a middle school dance. The client is on one side of the gym fearful of revealing their budget. The production company is on the other side afraid of revealing their pricing. A whole lot of laminated gym floor and fruit punch goes to waste. So what's the hold up?Read More
While it's been a few weeks since the Super Bowl and there are always countless articles and blogs posted soon after the big game, I still wanted to visit the topic and point out something that everyone seems to have missed.
I don't think there's a need to review each ad or pick the best or the worst. The reason? Everyone nearly universally agreed that this year's ads were the worst ever. The standout of the night was a pharmaceutical ad featuring an anthropomorphic set of bowels. I rest my case.
For all the many millions of dollars spent and hours of creative energy expended, no one came up with advertisements that did anything for anybody.
How did we get to this point?
Obviously, the ball got rolling when advertisers realized they had a massive captive and global audience during the big game. But how to get their attention? How to stand out and get people talking about brands?
Slowly but surely, the humor, the action, the featured celebrities, the risque-ness, and the spectacle were all pushed until everyone has finally lost focus on what they were supposed to be doing with their ad time: sell their product or service.
We are now at the point were brands and their advertising firms are making Super Bowl ads for the sake of making Super Bowl ads.
Super Bowl advertisers today are like children shouting 'Look at me! Look at me!' and when you look at them and say, 'Okay. I'm looking,' they suddenly have no clue what to do next. There was no plan other than to gain your attention. They've put all their effort in the spectacle and forgot about the actual advertising.
So, how do we fix this? And what can you learn to apply to your non-Super Bowl commercial efforts?
The Super Bowl ads, for a time, were many people's favorite part of the night. You went to get snacks or use the bathroom during the game. Before advertisers got caught up in making a Super Bowl ad for the sake of making a Super Bowl ad, they were still grounded to the classic advertising formula:
1). Define you target audiences problem.
2). Show how your product/service is the best solution.
Even in a content marketing driven digital age, when you strip it all down to the foundation, the foundation still has to be poured with the Problem/Solution model concrete.
Even as entertaining and as off the wall as some of the greatest Super Bowl ads ever have been, at their core, they still held true to this model. A few examples:
"You don't feel young? Drink Pepsi! It's the young people's drink! See, Ray Charles is drinking it and he's acting all young again and having fun. Even though he's old! See! Drink Pepsi and you'll feel young again!"
"PCs are authoritarian prisons that lock away your ability to solve problems creatively. We believe you should have the freedom and control over the computer not the other way around. Buy a Mac."
"You didn't dream as a kid to have a terrible job in a stifling office pushing paper and being unfulfilled and underpaid. Find the job you really want at Monster.com."
There are exceptions, of course, like the Budweiser Frogs, but that was part of a much larger campaign over many months and years to provide actual entertainment in hopes you'd reward them later with a purchase. Unless you're willing to really commit to doing something entertaining that stands on its own as a brand, stick to the Problem/Solution model. Which, by the way, you can still have lots of fun with if that's what you want to do. Just check out Allstate's Mayhem Campaign.
So, in summary, advertisers can fix the Super Bowl mess by returning to their roots and... well... advertise. And you can make sure that you keep your advertising on the right track by making sure your efforts always consider your target audience's problems and how your product or service is their best solution.
Like so many things in marketing and advertising, Branded Content sounds vague but expensive. And it is and it can be, but what is it? Branded Content combines storytelling with advertising outside the bounds of a commercial or print ad. In other words, it's a mini-movie that features a brand, product, or service.Read More
Most business owners considering advertising only look at what it will cost them. They rarely consider what it would take to break even on an advertisement or campaign let alone consider the lifetime value of an advertisement. The reason?Read More
Oklahoma has mountains, in case you didn't know...
I finally got the chance to do an overnight stay on a video trip! I actually booked two separate jobs for the Army base at Ft. Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma. When they scheduled back to back shoots, I knew I could stay down there and play around in the Wichita Mountains and shoot some footage-something that I've always wanted to do.
The Wichita Mountains aren't big. They've been worn down over many millennia. One of my favorite things about Oklahoma is the varied geography. There are many places that, if someone just dropped you there and asked you to name what state you were in, you wouldn't be able to name where you were. The Wichita Mountains are one of those places. It feels like the idyllic Old West from a Hollywood movie. There are buffalo but they are a bit camera shy. The prairie dogs, who are not camera shy, have their own turnout and you can park right next to them. I didn't get the chance to go that far into the reserve, but I will in a later visit.
The drive up Mount Scott is amazing. There are several turnouts on the way up. The view from the top is a wonderful change of pace from the rolling hills and plains of Central Oklahoma. Again, the rock formations, wild flowers, and cacti make it feel more like the Southwest than the plains.
When you're done exploring the Wichitas, head up to Meers for a hamburger and check out the seismographs. Believe it or not, Oklahoma is seismically active.