4 Million dollars down the drain?

By Michael Tasner | Guerilla Marketing

Feb 04

Like most of us who watched “the big game” the common feelings were underwhelmed and essentially bored.  Not only was the game a total blowout, but most of the commercials that we often love talking about the next day totally missed the mark.


Rather than go thru each and every commercial and point out all the things that were terrible, I want to give you two big reasons why most of the advertisers essentially wasted $4,000,000 (or more) on their 30 seconds spots. Armed with these two pieces of data you can make certain you don’t make a mistake of that magnitude (or even on a less magnitude) with your marketing dollars.

  One of our golden rules at No Joke Marketing™ is to track everything.  You MUST know why people are taking certain actions in order to calculate your ROI. That is how you make smart marketing decisions, based solely on profits.  

Let’s take the T-Mobile commercials for example.  I thought the commercial was solid, the offer was great, but how are they going to track how many people DIRECTLY made the switch from another provider to T-Mobile as a result of their ad?   They have been advertising the same offer (we will pay your termination fee) for the past few weeks and getting people to switch over. The commercial they ran mentioned the same offer but obviously reached a lot more people at once.  But again, how are they tracking the results of that EXACT commercial?


The simple solution would have been to mention a specific code people must use mention when switching over that would have ONLY been mentioned on that commercial. For example, they could have said mention the phrase “t-mobile rocks” when you come into our stores and switch.  Yes some people will forget to mention the buzz word or phrase, but at the very least you could quickly gauge some results from that commercial.  The extra step would be to train the staff at T-Mobile to ask “what is making you switch, or how did you hear about us” and to track that as well to get any pot  Most of the commercials on the game did not have a special tracking offer, code, URL or phone number, making it near impossible to track the results other than “do we have more sales than last week.”


The second critical mistake most of the advertisers made was not having their products or services be front and center.  Many of the commercials the brand was almost an after thought or mentioned in the last second or two.  It’s like the marketing joke of the magazine ad that is a full page picture of a party but the ad is really for the pair of jeans that are faded out in the background and hard to see.  Your brand and product or service should always be front and center in your marketing.


On a final note, what most people were watching for was humor.  If the ads were funny or memorable  (like the Budweiser dog and horse commercial), they get talked about and the brand names get mentioned everywhere.  Last year for example everyone was saying hey did you see that raunchy Godaddy commercial?  Godaddy wanted their name repeated over and over again.  Their name was mentioned everywhere for a year days.  This year however, few were saying “hey did you see that person quit their job.”   Humor is fine, but when creating a commercial or an ad, don’t lead with humor.  Focus on the end objective of the ad producing more profits and work your way backwards.


I’m not sure what happened this year, maybe everyone used the same ad agency? Not only did the viral factor not happen, but most of the commercials made both of our marketing sins, not tracking and not having their product/service be front and center.  Maybe next year I can convince someone to send me $2,000,000 and just not run their ads saving them the extra $2,000,000? Better yet, I hope this was a wake-up call to companies to smarten up on their next commercials.

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About the Author

Online & Offline Marketing Expert, Former CMO of Guerrilla Marketing, Speaker & Author obsessed with keeping you in business via No Joke Marketing.

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