Why Direct Marketers Hate Beer Commercials and Branding
I’m going to take some heat for this next statement: I’m not a big football fan. I grew up playing and watching hockey, and never really “got” football.
But usually I love the Super Bowl. Actually, I should say that I usually love the Super Bowl's commercials. They’re clever, funny and make my annual trip to my friend's Super Bowl party much better.
But I’m not really sure what happened this year. Ninety percent of the commercials were just plain stupid, other than Brett Favre's spot for Hyundai, Volkswagen's punch buggy ad and the Letterman/Oprah/Leno commercial for CBS’ "Late Show." And I loved the sheer perfection of Google's spot. It told a story and made you feel it.
Oh, and seeing Betty White and Abe Vigoda playing football was funny, but I have no idea the following morning what was being sold in the ad. All in all, this year's trend seemed to be men in underwear and condescending beer spots.
If You Build it (Brand it), Will They Come?
I’ve also never been a big branding guy. I've always believed that branding is something you do while you're stimulating orders and leads via direct marketing. To me, making someone laugh while watching a commercial doesn’t exactly cause new customer acquisition. You do that with offers, calls to action, superior guarantees and, of course, products that measure up to and exceed expectations.
Direct marketing is immediate, purposeful, in your face and compels you to take action. It’s not about creating a funny TV spot and the eventual purchase of a product based on message recall. Direct marketing is about measurability.
And while I admit that general branding agencies are getting better at using direct marketing principles, it’s not enough. Just slapping a URL on a TV commercial doesn’t make it direct marketing.