Maybe you saw the football game last night. You probably noticed the commercials. Some were funny and sharable. Some were effective for the brand. But not that many were both.
If you talk about your product, you’re probably being boring. If you try to be funny or cool, you risk wasting effort, leaving the viewer mystified about what you do. Here’s a picture of what I mean:
Content that people love, but that makes you work for the brand message, is a pointless waste. In this case, that waste costs not just the $5 million that a Super Bowl ad costs, but the enormous creative effort. I’d put the Kia Optima ad in this category — you probably remember the beige socks and Christopher Walken, but the payoff is a guy driving a generic-looking car that might as well be beige.
The most effective content is fun and sharable because of the brand message — sharing the content means sharing the message. Three examples:
- Lawyers ruining a Drake song. Message: except for T-Mobile, everybody in mobile lies and breaks promises.
- Anthony Hopkins won’t sell out. Message: TurboTax Absolute Zero is free.
- Sheep sing Queen’s “Somebody to Love.” Message: there’s a speaker in the flatbed of the Honda Ridgeline pickup.
These may not have been the funniest ads, but they were pretty good, and they hit the brand message target. And they seem like a natural extension of the brand, as opposed to, say, the dreadful Puppy-monkey-baby.
Boring messages won’t spread. But work a little harder, as these brands did, and your message will lift your brand and spread, too. All it takes is an insane amount of creativity. You are creative, aren’t you?