Stop-You-in-Your-Tracks Advertising

Let’s face it.  So much advertising and marketing communications today is lousy and has no chance of positively influencing a sale.

Fortunately, there are exceptions, and sometimes in unexpected places.

For example, I saw a bus ad for Midwest DNA & Drug Testing, Inc. a few days ago.  It’s brilliant.  It plays off a popular expression, which cuts right to the core service and benefit.  Simple, effective and powerful.

MidWest DNA & Drug Testing Bus Ad – Facebook

Marketers can easily fall into traps during the advertising development and creative evaluation process.  To make sure you don’t, avoid these common pitfall areas:

  1. Fuzzy objectives.  Advertising should support your marketing strategy, and to make sure, prepare a marketing brief that details what you want to achieve.  Yes, the agency will most likely prepare a creative brief, but you have to brief the agency first!
  2. The inside-out evaluation.  The ad needs to influence and persuade the customer, not the marketing team or boss.
  3. The esoteric emotional benefit.  If the target has to work too hard to figure out your ad, you’ve gone amiss.  Figure out what you’d like to do with emotional and functional benefits up-front, and include that in your marketing brief.  If there’s any doubt, ask yourself if the message will help sell your product or service.
  4. It’s hot right now.  Be careful of the desire to leverage a popular culture trend.  If it helps achieve your strategy, go for it.  If not, stay away.
  5. We’ll handle it in the production process.  Be wary of the fancy advertising production technique as problem-solver and enabler of success.  Maybe it’s true.  But if the overall advertising idea isn’t right, you’re still in trouble, no matter how wonderful the production values.
  6. Pressured to say yes.  If you don’t think the idea is on strategy or properly fits your objective, say so, and give specific reasons why.  At the end of the day, it’s your decision and you’re accountable. Recently, Groupon’s CEO stated that his company was pressured into running its much criticized Super Bowl ads:  “We learned that you can’t rely on anyone else to control and maintain your own brand.”

Here’s another bus ad for Midwest DNA & Drug Testing, Inc.  I didn’t see it, but it’s posted on the company’s Facebook page.  I love this one, too.

MidWest DNA & Testing Ad – Facebook

Midwest has also nicely integrated the bus advertising with its social media marketing.  Here’s a post from their Facebook page.

Headline For Marketers

If your advertising isn’t helping sell your company’s products or services, something is wrong.  Do your homework and prepare a detailed marketing brief that identifies what you want to achieve and why.  Put it in the good hands of creative talent and work together to agree on a concept idea and finished output that you feel will achieve the mission.  Don’t be afraid of simple.  Sometime’s it’s the most powerful way to go.

Harvey Chimoff is a hands-on marketing leader and business-wide collaborator who builds marketing capabilities in B2B/B2C organizations that drive customer success.

One thought on “Stop-You-in-Your-Tracks Advertising

  1. Helpful list! To amplify on your point # 3, there is no need to be esoteric when it comes to an emotional benefit! Just target your customer’s pain points. I just finished looking at Discover’s “Peggy commercials, and I think that is why they work for me.


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