Thursday, March 8, 2012

Making an ad? Watch that bottom step.

         Here's something every marketer should keep in mind. The statistics about accidents on staircases. Research shows that almost one-third of all stair accidents occur on the first or last step. Two-thirds occur on the first or last three steps. You should also know that 90% of the injuries occur going down the steps.

         I think those are good to keep in mind when creating advertising. I would think the same data would apply. Whether you succeed or not depends on how you start, and even more on how you finish.

         If you start by just staring at the product and thinking about what's so good about it, you're going to slip. The world is about people, not products. Your job is to find the insight into the role your product can play in people's lives. For example. people can quench their thirsts with any water, bottled or tap, or any soft drink or electrolyte beverage. So why do people prefer one brand over another? And why do different kinds of people prefer Coke over Pepsi? It's not just the taste. Why hasn't PowerAde been able to overpower Gatorade? What's so smart about Smart Water? Jennifer Aniston?

         Once you figure these kinds of things out, the hard part begins. That involves finding an idea that can make your story more interesting, more provocative than the competition. The idea for Coke in the winter was cuddly polar bears enjoying it. Happiness at the North Pole. The idea for Gatorade in the winter is replenishing fluids when the doctor says drink plenty of liquids. Once you have the idea, you're on your way.

          That is, until you get to the last few steps. Is your execution as compelling as it could be, or are you depending on the idea alone to do all the heavy lifting? Everything in your ad or commercial has to lead the viewer to the conclusion you want them to come to. Including a memorable tagline in conclusion.

           Be careful on all the steps. There's no express elevator to success in advertising.

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