March 26, 2009

What's missing in this commercial?

There's a commercial I hear daily on local radio that fails to convince me to buy their product. To summarize their key points:

>> When you buy paint from other stores, it's probably been sitting on the shelf at the manufacturer, then at the distributor, then at the store for a long time. Wouldn't you prefer to buy fresh paint?

We use a special technology that allows us to make your paint as you order it so you can have fresh paint every time.

We're a paint store, not a paint department.<<

Right now, as this ad stands, I would not be inclined to buy the product. Something critical is missing here that is absolutely necessary when promoting your business.

What do you think is missing? Please leave your thoughts in the comments and I'll be back tomorrow to follow up!

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8 comments. Please add yours! :

Anonymous said...

Why do I care about the "freshness" of paint? That seemed missing.

Anonymous said...

I am with Mario. What difference does freshness make to paint? I have had the same confusion about the "born on date" applied to some beer brands.

For some products - like cheese - freshness is not always desirable. Maybe aged paint adheres differently.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for participating, Mario and Greg! I'll have more on this tomorrow!

Richard I. Garber said...

What is missing is that they are describing features (things they do) rather than benefits (what’s in it for the customer). Mike Fisch described this very clearly in a blog post last fall:

A supplier may think that the benefits are obvious. They may be to him but not to the customer. For example, some paints are emulsions, like salad dressings. When they sit around they may separate. Obviously then fresher is better. Shaking up or stirring the old stuff might or might not mix it properly.

The Dutch Boy Twist & Pour plastic paint jar is a good example of a user friendly innovation in packaging paint:

The traditional gallon metal can was user-hostile. You needed a screwdriver or other prying tool just to get the lid off. Then, as you used the can, paint got stuck in the groove on the rim. You had to carefully clean it out with a cotton swab before you tried to replace the lid, or you would splash paint all over when you pounded the lid back on with a mallet. If you used a hammer, then you might ding the rim so it wouldn’t seal. Then your $25 gallon can of paint dried out and became worthless.

Anonymous said...

No emotional content. It gave facts that convince our logical side, but nothing to persuade our emotional side. It needs to reinforce how we will feel emotionally when we buy and use the product.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks, Richard and Tony! See today's blog post for followup!

Unknown said...

Wow. That's some stinky ad copy, on so many levels!

I agree with all of the ideas commented here, especially "all features, no benefits".

I'll add one more:

Using a Yes or No Question in ad copy can be tricky. Unless you've made a strong benefits case with an obvious YES answer, don't write a Y/N question!

In this example, "wouldn't you prefer to buy fresh paint?" -- I shrugged.

I'd prefer not to buy paint at all, really!

What I really want are beautiful, long-lasting, colorful walls.

When I have to buy paint, the department store stuff seems fine. If freshness is better, I wouldn't know it. The ad copy didn't make a case for the superiority of freshness.

This leads me to believe that the dept. store is probably in my best interest.

That Y/N question here led me to a shrug, then an internalized "no".

That's probably not what the writer intended!

Watch those Y/N questions...

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Great point, Laura! We might believe the answer to our question is an obvious "yes," but have we given enough information and educated our prospects?

I wish my car radio had a DVR-type thing where I could pause and rewind commercials the way I do when I want to transcribe them from TV. My summary wasn't great, but you got the gist!

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