“Fun” advertising won’t cut it (But it isn’t all bad, either…)

Family TVDuring “Super Bowl Season” , we’ll hear a lot of buzz in the media and around the water cooler about this commercial and that commercial. We’ll hear people talk about commercials that made them laugh, ones they really “liked,” ones they thought were clever, or otherwise held their interest.  We may hear, often, “Oh, you’ve gotta see this one…”

Many marketers will take that kind of feedback to mean they’ve got a winner on their hands. They will believe the buzz is positive feedback,  suggesting the message is being successfully received. “If you love the ad, you’ll love the product…” is the mantra that is often used to sell clients on why such advertising is a good use of their marketing budgets. If only it were so.

Just because the commercial is buzzworthy doesn’t mean we’ll like the product nor does it mean the campaign will accomplish what it is supposed to accomplish, which is to get RESULTS. Often “results” is measured in sales. As David Ogilvy famously said, “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.” Even tons of media attention and all the buzz in the world won’t guarantee that.

But to be entirely fair, having a “fun” message isn’t  a totally bad thing. A story that reflects the benefit can be good, and the more fun the story is, the more memorable it may be. Or if the ad is a component part in an overall strategic theme, it may turn out to be very effective. Getting the desired results may also take a while, and the need for a long-term perspective is worth mentioning, too. But at the end of the day, let’s not forget that good marketing gets results, and “results” usually means it sells product!

 The only purpose of advertising is to make sales.  It is profitable or unprofitable according to its actual sales.” – Claude Hopkins, My Life in Advertising