Three months ago, I snapped a photo of the billboard pictured to the right – just as soon as it popped up near the town in which I live.
Now at the time, I was clueless as to the ad’s origin.
But that shouldn’t surprise you in the least. Just one glance at the ad and you, too, will become puzzled by its absence of brand identification and clarity of message.
Yes, this ad is a real head-scratcher. Problem is, prospects have to THINK way too much about the meaning of its message.
That said, it wasn’t until just the other day, when I stumbled across an online video promoting Yuengling light beer, that the company behind the billboard was finally revealed to me.
Why do I mention this to you?
See, I bring this ad to your attention because it underscores the deadliest mistake in advertising today: Sacrificing clarity for creativity’s sake.
What’s more, the whole vague and lackadaisical “let the customer interpret the meaning of our marketing message” approach leaves me feeling queasy.
Hell. That’s just bad marketing. Not to mention, a complete waste of money.
Maybe Yuengling – and other corporate “big boys” – can afford to piss away its hard-earned moolah on an unclear and creative advertisement, but trust me … you can’t. In fact, I’ve never met a Main Street business owner who could.
Now, please forgive me for being so direct. Honestly, I mean no disrespect. I just DON’T want you to believe that entertainment should be the primary goal of your advertising just because that’s corporate America’s shtick.
Sure – you can have fun with your marketing … you can spice up your ads with a little humor … you can even get creative with your imagery or delivery of message.
Heck – no one says your marketing has to be boring.
But you simply can NOT sacrifice the clarity of your message just to entertain your customer.
Remember, entertainment is Hollywood’s job.
Your job – as a Main Street Marketer – is to persuade. And the way I see it, no customer wants to agonize over ANY buying decision. Considering that your customer is exposed to more than 5,000 advertisements each day, does she really want to guess about the meaning of your message?
What’s more, do YOU really want to take the chance that your message is misinterpreted?
Help your customer to decide to buy from you with a marketing message that’s clear and compelling. And if you really want to set your marketing on fire, why not frame the buying experience in a way that differentiates your company and positions your product or service as the hero?
P.S. After digging a bit deeper, I discovered that Yuengling’s ads are “urging you to rethink your light beer.” This copy – coupled with the contrasting image of its rich, light beer surrounded by watered-down suds – may be a good message after all. Especially considering that light beer sales are sagging due to a possible consumer revolt against lousy tasting beer.
Again, Yuengling has a message worth sending. Sadly, I just had to work too damn hard to uncover it.