So This Comedian Stands In Front Of His Audience And Says…

29 Dec

Comedians need to tell jokes

“I’m a funny guy.”

The audience stares blankly back at him and, assuming he isn’t really funny looking, remains silent. There may be minor adjustments of limbs and some throat clearing.

Finally someone will probably have the wherewithal to retort: “Hey funny guy! Put your money where your mouth is!”

Now we’re getting somewhere. Our comedian is forced to do something more substantial, like tell a joke. It may be a stinker and he may fall flat on his face, but at least he is giving the audience the chance to figure out his comedic merit on their own.

So what’s the lesson for advertisers in this? Simply, that you – and we – should spend less time telling and more time proving, so you allow your audience to come to their own conclusions about your product or service.

Provide the right stimulus to get the desired response, as they say in Marketingville.

Before you spend any time asking yourself what you should be proving to the world about what you are selling them, first ask yourself this simple question: What is it I am selling?

Our comedian is selling laughs. You may be selling a term deposit with a higher rate, a more environmentally friendly way to travel, or a comfortable place in the afterlife. Whatever it is, smart marketers prove its merits, rather than talk about them.

For instance, McCall’s Funeral Home in Victoria wanted to communicate to people that they are a sensitive group of individuals when it comes time to plan a memorial service. David McCall, in addition to being a sensitive person, is also a smart marketer because he knows that you can’t tell people you are sensitive. You have to write an ad that demonstrates it. You have to BE sensitive. Then people can reach their own conclusions. The ad in question bore the headline “How do you say goodbye?”, showed an elegant birdcage with the door open and contained a lengthy piece of carefully written copy about the importance of making a fitting final tribute to your loved one – under the assumption that sensitivity is not something you can convince someone of with a quick headline.

Here’s an example of doing it badly:

Pepsi’s “Anything else youthful you’d like to experience?” television campaign. Talk about sending the message without any compelling evidence to back it up. We get it that Pepsi wants to be seen to be a drink that appeals to younger people. But that one reads like the strategy on the page. That sound you’re hearing is the quiet belching of Coke drinkers who continue to stick with their Coke.

Of course, there’s a second critical component to this process, which is all about delivering your “proof” in an exciting or original or compelling way, so that your money isn’t wasted on simply stating the facts.

Although these days, simply stating the facts can be quite breakthrough!

To achieve this we recommend hiring a great agency and trusting them. If they fail to deliver, fire them quick. Or pay them less. That will put the money where the mouth is.


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