By Roy H. Williams
“Well, it’s a non-stop blitz of advertising messages. Everywhere we turn we’re saturated with advertising messages trying to get our attention… We’ve gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day 40 years ago to about 5,000 a day today... It seems like the goal of most marketers and advertisers nowadays is to cover every blank space with some kind of brand logo or a promotion or an advertisement. It’s an assault on the senses. We have to screen it out because we simply can’t absorb that much information. We can’t process that much data. And so no surprise, consumers are reacting negatively to the kind of marketing blitz; the kind of super saturation of advertising that they’re exposed to on a daily basis.”
- Jay Walker-Smith,
President of Yankelovich, a consumer behavior research firm
People are infuriated by ads that get their attention. The public doesn’t want to pay attention. They’re working hard at not paying attention. “Why can’t you just bury your dollars in the Yellow Pages like everyone else? Why won’t you sound like other people on the radio so we can ignore your ads the way we ignore theirs? Give us a break. We really, really, really want to ignore you.”
Here’s another wonderful love letter received by one of our clients last week. It’s typical of the genre:
“Your radio commercials are so annoying, obnoxious and irritating that I immediately turn off the radio. It is amazing that whoever wrote and produced this inane bunch of dribble convinced Ms. Thompson to invest the firm’s money in them. Cutting through the niceties of polite society, the only way to describe the commercials: a bunch of crap. They are not funny. Just because foundation repair requires digging a hole doesn’t mean that the advertising for your services should be dragged down (or up depending on how you look at it) to that level. Perhaps these are the commercials from Hell. Thanks for listening. It’s just one persons opinion, but thought you should know before you tape any more of these spots. I’m sure your company does a fine job for folks and as a result you should represent yourselves accordingly in a more dignified manner.”
The person who sent this email is a sheepdog, barking and yapping and nipping the heels of anyone who attempts to break away from the herd.
The rest of that story: the client in question, a long-established foundation repair company, has grown from barely $4 million to more than $6 million during their 4 years with us, even in the shadow of recession. Traditional wisdom says that a foundation repair company is going to live or die based on their ads in the Yellow Pages. After all, the Yellow Pages is where a homeowner is going to go when they need foundation repair, right?
We steadily cut back the Yellow Pages and redirected that money into radio. We’re now spending zero dollars in the Yellow Pages and our client is having her best year ever.
Her banker says she deposits her money in a very dignified manner.