The most important article you will ever read!
  by:  |  Nov 20, 2007

Not every product or service is exciting in and among itself.It is probably easy to get consumers excited about a fancy restaurant or a flashy clothing store.You can simply put the product out there and let the product sell itself.However, other products require more work and more ingenuity.

Many advertisers make the mistake of going over the top and using outrageous hype to try to draw attention to their product.They bludgeon the consumer with how good their product is, as if their product or service is the greatest thing in the history of the world.And while much of the purpose of advertising is to show how good the product being advertised is, there is such a thing as being too aggressive in advertising.

Hyperbole is a staple in advertising, but a careful advertiser needs to strike a balance betweenextolling the virtues of the his or her product and over the top hype.People have been conditioned to view over the top salesmanship as a sign of the seller trying to conceal a weakness in his or her product.Most of us will look at a loud and obnoxious advertisement and immediately dismiss the quality of the product being promoted.

The key is to find ways to get across the strengths of your product or service in a creative manner without distracting the consumer with hype.The following are three recentadvertising campaigns that were extremely effective in promoting their products without hyperbole and in many cases without doing more than simply presenting the unembellished virtues of the product.

1. Let the Customer Fill in the Blanks

One way to create compelling advertisements is to give the consumer part of the equation and let them fill in the rest.This method was recently used by the City of Las Vegas in its “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” campaign.In the beginning of this decade, the Gaming and Hotel industries in Las Vegas were in a relative down cycle after a disastrous attempt by the city to re-imagine itself as a family vacation destination in the late 1990’s.Las Vegas suddenly found itself in the situation where it was no longer entirely viewed as “cool.”And for a city whose economy is based on being a no limits, no rules paradise, this was becoming a major problem.

So the city unveiled its “What Happens in Vegas” campaign in 2004.The campaign was simple, the seven word slogan supported by a series of advertisements which showed people having fun in Vegas.That was it.It wasn’t flashy or elaborate and the commercials weren’t directly about all night partying or decadence.They were concepts like four women in their 30’s laughing in the back of a limousine over something we never get to see, but have to presume must have been wild.They simply put the concept out there and let the viewer fill in the rest.

The concept ofshowing part of the story and letting the customer fill in the rest can be applied to other types of businesses.For example, a restaurant can use advertisements showing filled and contented customers to illustrate how good their food is, without having to actually say how good the food is.The key is to suggest your point to your customer and let him or her figure out the rest.It’s a way of advertising your product or service without having to actually bludgeon the consumer with the virtues of your product.

2.Memorable, but Unrelated

Automobile insurance is not an exciting topic.It’s a necessary evil, but most people won’t pay attention to someone discussing insurance on their TV.So insurance companies have to find a way to keep people from switching the channel.The recent trend has been to use visually unique advertising characters unrelated to insurance to keep the viewers watching.Geico’s Cavemen and the animated commercials for are examples of companies creating entertaining commercials and essentially hiding the insurance information in them.For example, as the pleasingly drawn Erin Esurance fights spies or plays a futuristic version of football, random bits of information about how to use the Esurance site are slipped onto the screen and into the voice over.The Geico Cavemen have been such a successful advertising tool that the ABC television network actually bought a pilot based on the concept and the show made their Fall line up.Neither of these concepts has anything to do with insurance, but they have increased the visibility of their brands considerably.

This concept can translate to smaller businesses as well.A business can relate itself to something not directly related to its business to make itself memorable to potential customers.A business with a unique looking building location or who has its employees wear a certain type of wardrobe can distinguish itself from its competitors.A company logo or symbol can give the company an identity which has nothing to do with the actual business that the company offers.The goal is to draw attention to the company and to keep people interested in hearing information about the company, even if that information is dry and dull.

3.The Fun Alternative

What does a female professional wrestler have to do with internet domain name registration?Absolutely nothing, but has carved out a considerably niche in its marketplace due to a series of commercials featuring World Wrestling Entertainment performer Candice Michelle as a free spirited symbol for the company.The commercials establish GoDaddy as a fun alternative to other domain registration sites, making them seem cooler and thus more desirable to do business with than their more stoic competitors.

This concept can easily translate to other fields as well.A Dentist can advertise himself as more likable than most, lessening the natural fear people have of going to the dentist.A company can take a humorous look at its own services, even poke fun at itself, humanizing the company and making people want to do business with it.

The point of the above illustrations is to show that there are a variety of ways that you can present your product other than just hyping the product.With a little imagination, you can embellish your product presentation to increase customer awareness and make your advertising more interesting, no matter what product you’re selling.