You may have noticed that major news channels constantly rotate the same ads either spitting out the same messages, bringing the same old actors who don't know what to do with their free time or throwing at our face new iterations of the same mediocre commercials that do nothing but damage their brand.
But this article is not about criticizing those media channels - although they are abusing their ads' allocation time and flirting with the danger of kicking us out for good - but more to send a message to the VPs of marketing of these brands that are becoming stale and uninteresting.
You guessed right: I am frustrated by getting the same old over and over again. Instead of making me want to buy their products and services, those brands are pushing me away. Here are a few examples that I can't bear watching anymore.
Tom Selleck's Reverse Mortgage Commercials: Tom, I've loved you all my life in the role you had in Magnum P.I. but seeing you selling reverse mortgages is just not to your level and far from being credible, and I doubt they will serve your legacy. I get it that the brand is targeting financially-challenged older generations but please, please, tell them they need to find a way to be more authentic, more relatable and more genuine. Those ads don't do it for me and will hurt the brand long term.
Mike "My Pillow" guy: Mike, you have an amazing story and have proven that you can beat all odds, but your commercials are invading our waves a lot more than our eyes and ears can take. Although I have to admit that they worked at first (yes I bought two of your pillows and love them), they are now making me shiver each time I hear your jingle or your voice and I know you don't deserve that. I would recommend you refresh your brand a little to bring some novelty and excitement. It is time for a brand revival!
PC Matic, the Anti-Virus king: Before I criticize the very, very, very lengthy commercials, I have to take a bow and honor the founder of PC Matic who started with commercials that looked like they were filmed in his garage to commercials that finally have the professional look they deserve. However, although the quality has improved in spades, the message is much too long and very convoluted. Short and sweet should be the motto, especially for something like anti-virus products that are far from sexy. It is time to invest in professional actors and in a top-notch branding agency so you can finally have the look of a large corporation that people can trust.
Advertising too much can have dangerous reverse effects if not done right as:
People will tune out as they've seen too much of the same commercial over and over again
You can communicate that you are in trouble, desperate in getting new business and no one wants to buy from companies that appear to be in jeopardy.
However, when done right, we can't wait to see more of their entertaining and inspiring stories. So I'll end up this article on a positive note, by thanking the brands that are doing it right.
Progressive: Flo is a gem and the commercials are like movies, providing great entertainment and laughs. Flo brings a smile to my face each time I see her with storylines that are enjoyable and memorable. Well done Progressive. Well done!
All State: Between Tina Fey and Dennis Haysbert, All State offers innovative ways to push their products and it works. We remember the stories. We remember the lines. Bravo!
Farmers Insurance and J.K. Simmons: Though he's appeared in more than 50 movies and several hit TV shows, J.K. Simmons is perhaps still best known as the deadpan professor in Farmer's Insurance commercials. Plus, all their commercials are based on real claims. Way to be authentic Farmers. Well done!
Yes they are all insurance companies that have properly used their million dollar ad budgets, and they are all teaching marketers a great lesson: to be authentic, innovative, and creative but to not treat your audience as they are stupid and uneducated.
Because viewers are becoming very savvy, they can see through the B.S. and easily detect a brand that is trying to save money and that hope to get away with mediocrity. Mediocrity will only work for a very short period of time.
To your creativity always,