Jun 19, 2007

Where's the marketing message?

They say that with websites; you have 8 seconds to capture the readers attention before they bail. 8 seconds to display a pull-based marketing message.

But for push based marketing: whether an ad on a bus bench, something in the paper, or my case, the ad on the back of a movie stub – you don’t have the luxury of 8 seconds. 8 seconds is an eternity to look at a billboard when driving, or an ad on a matchbook cover. You really only have a second, maybe 2 if you are lucky. So its best to keep the message you send short, and sweet. No glitzy stuff.

That is not what AMC theaters did when advertising private movie screenings for events on the back of their tickets. I had this ticket stub lying around my apartment for months, maybe years. It kept on showing up, I saw the back of it a gazillion times. Every time I saw it, I only gave it a second of my time – long enough to read ‘VIP’ and then lose interest. It wasn’t until last week that I, for some unknown reason, read the entire ad. I had no idea that one could show theater movies at private parties and events. How cool is that?

Look at the back of the stub yourself – a lot of stuff to read, huh? Between the fancy shmancy image, the logo, the extraneous VIP headline – there is no way a customer can read and digest the advertising message in 1 second.

The back of a movie stub

But, what if AMC just had a short line of text on the back of their tickets; accompanied by the relevant contact information. They wouldn’t be selling anything, they would just be informing prospective customers of a service. They could have had my business – had I known.

How I would have done it

Don’t bullshit customers

Learn about the breakthrough marketing secret created by neuroscience! Yes, make millions of dollars without even trying. This system is fool proof! Ask Sherry Ann who made 9 billion dollars within a day of purchasing our system. Its that easy!

Okay, most of you probably figured out that the above was complete bullshit. But who honestly has never seen this type of copy before? Sure it works sometimes. A sucker is born every minutes; so the ancient adage goes. But most consumers are not suckers – and treating them as such will lose you a sale.

Consider this: displaying negative customer reviews (testimonials) on you website can increase sales – according to several marketing case studies. Why? Because people want to read authentic customer testimonials – not advertising. And by displaying the occasional negative customer review, you are proving the veracity of your advertising. You are proving that you speak the truth.

Personally, I think the younger generations are better at detecting bullshit than older one’s. That is because younger generations have grown up in a world more saturated with advertising – they are more trained to zone out bullshit. Take the above video. Probably a joke by some kids.