I felt compelled to write this post after the Seahawks manhandled Peyton Manning and the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. Apart from Seahawks fans, most everyone I talked to was, of course, disappointed with the game, but a lot of people were disappointed with the commercials, too, which are often as entertaining as the game itself. Several friends and colleagues thought the ads this year were, overall, a little lackluster, and not necessarily as edgy, funny, or outrageous in years past.
Whether you liked the ads or not, one thing in particular that I noticed was that almost none of them had a clear call to action for the viewer: “Drink Coca-Cola.” “Drive an Audi.” “Buy Budweiser.” You’ve showed me your product, now, what do you want me to DO about it? Go to a store? Visit a website? Take a test-drive? There may be exceptions, but from what I saw (and what I remember I saw) during last night’s game, there were no ads that gave viewers a CLEAR next-step to take after seeing their ad.
Maybe it’s different for the Super Bowl, where big budgets abound, and the purpose may be to entertain first, and sell second, but that’s not a strategy I agree with, in any situation. Every ad’s job — by definition — is to drive revenue for the advertiser. And I believe no advertiser — especially small, local businesses who have smaller non-Super-Bowl-sized budgets — should take for granted that viewers will instinctively know what to do when they see your ad. Actions may be implied, “It’s a commercial for Budwesier. They must want me to drink Budwesier.” But why not say it? Why have an ad where anything is “implied?” If the goal is to bring people into your store, then tell people, “Come to our store.” Besides, it’s a great way to measure results of your campaign. If the call to action in your ad is, “Visit our website,” and your web traffic is up, the ad is working. If the call to action is, “Stop by our showroom,” and store traffic is down, maybe your message needs to be strengthened, or the call to action reevaluated.
As a business owner, every ad you run, be it during the Super Bowl, the local news, or on KLPX, “Classic Rock that Really Rocks,” is an opportunity to tell your story, and build a connection with your next customer. It’s also an invitation you make to that next customer to deepen that connection, and strengthen that relationship: “Hey, here’s why we need each other… Now come see us.” But there has to be a clear call to action. There has to be a “what next.”
So, what next? Send me an e-mail, and let’s talk about how I can help you tell your business’ story, in your voice.
At Slater’s Garage Ads & Audio, we help small businesses put a unique voice to their marketing through a combination of audio, video and social media. To find out how we can help you bring your marketing to life, contact us today.
Photo: Kevin Trotman