Vampire Without Fangs

There was a commercial on the Super Bowl that many of us saw that is the subject of today’s blog because it is a great example of the Video Vampire.

The commercial starts with two cubicle buddies.  One tells the other that he “hit reply all” on an email by mistake.  The guy who made the mistake now takes off in all directions to delete emails, snitch laptops and smartphones and distract people from reading their emails.  At the end of the commercial he returns to his cubicle and his buddy admits that it was a mistake.

So what is the commercial for?  Smart phones?  Internet services?  Software?

No, actually it is for car tires.  How do I know?  We went back and looked it up online to find out.

The commercial was funny.  It was well shot.  Everyone has had that terrible experience where we hit “reply all” instead of “reply” so we could empathize.  But as tantalizing as the notion is, what has it to do with tires?

It is a prime example of what we call a Video Vampire. Rosser Reeves coined the term “video vampire” for any visual element of a commercial that detracts from the selling message.  Something in a commercial that sucks all the attention away from the real goal – to sell the product.  It also sucks all the effectiveness out of the commercial.  And makes the commercial… well, suck as an effective selling piece.

I have seen a lot of video vampires and they are constantly appearing.  The basic mistake is that the advertiser thinks that by being entertaining and by attracting attention they will be a success.

Well they can be a success in entertaining, but miss the boat completely on achieving the goal of selling the product.

The goal of advertising is not entertainment.  The goal of advertising is to sell products and services. Never take your eye off of the goal.

Think of all those beer commercials that merge together in your head.  You can’t remember the brand but you remember the gag or song.

The same mistake is often made by retailers who think their ego is more important than the promise of service or great product offerings. Some retailer commercials are pretty funny, but not in a good way.

True making a commercial likable and provocative is a great step towards being effective.  But it can also be a tragic flaw.

If the execution of the commercial, the production elements, or the story around your selling idea take priority and demand more attention than the real message, then you are wasting your money.

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