By Jeffrey Hedquist
“Deconstruction” is an approach you can use for an advertiser who offers more than his competitors and wants to demonstrate that to his audience. In your commercials, keep taking away benefits until what your client offers is the same as the competition. Here are some approaches:
Apologize: Unfair. That’s what it is, and we feel guilty about it. There are lots of places you can buy appliances in this county and yet, we at Fernslogger’s are getting most of the business. We felt we were being unfair to our competition. So we thought, “Why not eliminate some of the things we do for our customers, like free delivery?” If we didn’t deliver for free we’d be more like other stores. Free setup and training. Maybe if Fernslogger’s didn’t help you get the most out of your new appliance it would be a more even playing field. Prices. Maybe we’re not charging enough. After all, that’s one of the biggest reasons more people buy their appliances at Fernslogger’s than at any other store in the area. Now if we did all those things, we’d be more like the other stores, but then…you’d have a more difficult time choosing where to buy your next appliance. So we said, “Naaaahh. We’ll keep doing business the way we’ve always done it.” Free delivery, free setup and training and lower prices. Fernslogger’s apologizes to all the other stores for being unfair.
Demonstrate with SFX (crash sounds, or customer complaint sounds): “OK, dump the free beverages!” SFX. “Get rid of the free super size nachos!” SFX. “Eliminate the 2 for 1 specials!” SFX. “No more free coffee refills!” SFX. “OK, now we’re like the other Tex Mex restaurants in town.
Simplify. Offer fewer choices, less service. If we hired a cost-analysis expert to increase profits, they’d probably suggest serving a few less fries with every sandwich, putting canned vegetables in our soups instead of the fresh from the garden ones and making our milkshakes just a little smaller. Well, we might make a little more profit, but then…we wouldn’t want to eat here. Hmmm, I think we’ll just keep serving the extra fries, fresh vegetables and bigger shakes.
And, if your client doesn’t offer more products, services, amenities, help, experience or training than their competitors, then reread my article “Parity Advertisers Aren’t All Alike” (R.A.P. April, 2007).
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