Many times in my advertising career we have come examined a product for unique reasons for customer preference and come up blank.  The product had me-too-ness written all over it.

My background is a world of advertising where demos were golden keys to success.  Demonstrate your product’s superiority with dramatic visual evidence of performance.  Totally relevant or not, no matter.

I have worked on the Joy grease dispersal shot (which we had to shoot over four or five shoot dates to get it just right – balancing legal requirements with production values) – making sure the grease in the quiche pan was just dark enough, but not too scummy.  Just light enough to move when the Joy LDL (light duty liquid) dropped into the water — but not to move too fast so it wouldn’t be believable.

I have demo-ed paper towels, detergent, food products, tapes, scouring pads, and all manner of food products including dog food.

Cute aside regarding dog food:  People think we starve the dogs to get them to dig into a bowl of food.  Not totally true.  They don’t eat the day of the shoot, but that doesn’t get them to shove their noses down into the bowl.  We put garlic paste at the bottom of the bowl.  It smells like rotting meat to the dog, a natural carrion feeder, and that fuels their enthusiasm.  Makes you wonder about garlic, don’t it?

For products kids have to eat, we shoot the eating shots in the morning before lunch (same principle as the dogs) and tell them they cannot swallow anything until we tell them it is okay.  The spit bucket can be fun, especially for boys.  If you let them eat they are quickly full and don’t want to eat for the camera.

So if you can’t do a demo and the product or service is the same as the competitors, what do you do?

You can make a parity claim that everyone thinks is superiority.  See our earlier blog on comparative and competitive advertising.

That’s the logical approach.  There are other approaches as well.  Go for the emotional sell that makes your product or service lovable.  Show puppies.  Show babies. Kittens.  People hugging.  Kids rolling with puppies – even better.  Vignettes of warm moments will overflow on to your brand.

There is an old saying: If you don’t have anything to say, sing it. Singing is memorable if it has a simple lyric hook.  Not too clever.  Established popular music will make it even more memorable and will associate you with the performer as well.  But it is expensive.  Fifty ways to spend your budget…

And lastly, for some clients: If you can’t sing it, get the client on camera to say it.  This is one way to keep the account for a couple years or until your client gets fired.  Some retailers are so intricately involved with their businesses that their ego gets them to believe they are the draw.  But that’s another blog.

If the client can’t act convincingly, you will keep the account but sales won’t respond unless you have a really good connection and do some very good writing.

I am a fan of the Galen Weston, aw shucks, as a spokesman.  You forget he is heir to one of the biggest fortunes in the country as he does his impression of Dave Nichol with a different more casual style.  At least Galen won’t get fired.  Dave Thomas for Wendy’s was a stopgap advertising solution, but it turned into a very lengthy campaign.  So sometimes having the client say it works.  But usually not.

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