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« Using Twitter for Your Event Marketing . . . | Main | Promoting Your Event with Too Much Email »

Did You Buy a Snickers Bar Yet?

Are you looking for advertising ideas for your business or event? Do yourself a favor and DON’T follow Super Bowl commercials as an advertising template. It’s my opinion that most companies advertising during the Super Bowl are wasting a tremendous amount of money.  Ask yourself the following question - Can you actually remember what the most entertaining ads were selling? If you ask most people the previous question - they’ll go all fuzzy on you.  The most entertaining Super Bowl ads are usually total flops for getting people to buy.

Event-marketing-super-bowl


Focus on Selling – Not Entertaining
When it comes to advertising it’s important not to confuse advertising that entertains with advertising that actually sells.  This belief comes from spending way too much time (in a good way) with some of the best direct response marketers on planet Earth.  If you look, most Super Bowl ads are almost entirely judged on entertainment value. Yeah there were entertaining ads that made me laugh.  Honestly, did Abe Bogota and Betty White actually get you to buy a Snickers bar? Probably not. The reason that huge companies like Coke and Anheuser-Busch can get away with funny commercials is because they have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on advertising.  Most event organizers don’t enjoy such a luxury.

Great Advice From an Advertising Master
David Ogilvy, The Pope of Modern Advertising, is famous for saying "I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information.” The purpose of advertising is to sell. Ogilvy believed that “Ninety-nine percent of advertising doesn't sell much of anything."  With Ogilvy, advertising was tied to bottom line results. The thing that constantly cracks me up is all the advertising agencies that revere David Ogilvy, yet completely ignore his most basic tenants.

Halfway Decent Ads
Looking back, the best ads were from Denny’s and Google. In my opinion, the previously mentioned companies created ads with a result in mind. Denny’s gives away free food as a loss leader. Last year, Denny’s Grand Slam Giveaway packed their restaurants. Do you think all those people are going to Denny’s and ONLY getting a FREE?  Consider this . . . “Every $2 coffee translates into something like $1.70 profit. If 1.5 million of the freeloaders spring for coffee, the revenues will hover around $2.5 million. Experts estimate that 2009’s giveaway generated roughly $50 million through free advertising.” (Source: “Denny's Free Grand Slam Breakfasts, and the Cost of Free Publicity by Bruce Watson - Daily Finance.com)  Google slyly featured all the neat little things their search engine can do for you. The Google commercial was clean and brutally simple – type something in, hit search, and get results.  Search results come up with advertising worth billions of dollars to Google.

Here is a quick update of Denny's Free Grand Slam giveaway as of 02/10/2010 from a Denny's Press Release:
  • Denny's served approximately 2 million Grand Slams across the U.S. Some restaurants served more than 200 breakfasts an hour, however, this increase from last year was offset by bad weather across the country.
  • There were approximately 49 million hits on Denny's website since the Super Bowl giveaway was announced; almost 24 million hits since Sunday's Super Bowl commercials.
  • Average wait time for Grand Slams was approximately fifteen to thirty minutes.
  • Tables were turned approximately every fifteen minutes.
  • Denny's was a top ten trending topic on Twitter for Grand Slam Day and during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.
  • Close to 300,000 have already registered for the new Denny's Rewards program. The first 500,000 people who sign up will receive a Free Burger and Fries.
Bottom Line Results
When advertising your event, regardless of medium, focus on selling your event.  Don’t make entertainment a goal of your advertising. Tie every ad for your event into bottom line result. Make your event advertising and investment, not an entertainment expense.


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Comments

Mike Deiure

Eugene,
Great article and awesome advice!

As a fellow marketer it made me cringe seeing how much money was spent where there was no calls to action or motivation to take the next step with 99% of the advertising.

It's funny that you sight Denny's as the best one because I came darn close to going there on tuesday! I decided not to only because I knew I would be waiting forever.

Keep the good content coming!

Craig Houck

Eugene,

Great ideas about using advertising to sell vs. entertaining. It's also interesting to see the ones that did both. And hopefully Denny's is gathering names and emails for all the people who come in - perhaps even a birthday offer for a free breakfast on their birthday. Who wouldn't like a free breakfast on their birthday!

Andrew Webb

Great comments about selling vs. entertainment, and most of the time I would agree.

However, for TV, and particularly for big events like the Super Bowl, people EXPECT to be entertained. Messages heavy on sales would anger and turn off viewers.

For a non-Super Bowl TV example, I will buy Dos Equis beer because of the Most Interesting Man In The World spots. Funny, entertaining -- and I try to catch every line the announcer says.

So, much of the entertainment/information/sales ratio depends on the medium. For TV, an entertainment medium, the entertainment value can be cranked up a notch.

techy2009

Very informative post, thanks!

Most of the marketing and advertising strategies in the recent past has been focussed around SEO/PPC/Social media. Those strategies definitely work if one can identify the right target audience and then promote into the right space.

I would suggest to look for idea database, such as, www.getmemedia.com. They offer creative and innovative marketing ideas. Definitely worth a look.

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