Let’s talk about ads, baby!

Is it just me, or do you also dry retch on the stench of desperation emanating from pathetic offers and cheaply made retail ads that invade our senses on a daily basis?
Problem is, we can’t escape it. They come uninvited in to our living rooms at night, our place of work by day and even when we are innocently enjoying our lunchtime sandwich in the local park. Advertising is everywhere and we are told so often that, ‘This deal can’t possibly be repeated’. We’ve become immune.

Whatever happened to clever advertising?
Like iconic slogan “Not Happy Jan!” It’s probably a bad example given the Yellow Pages’ current pick up rate, nonetheless the line became part of the Australian vernacular. It’s funny, it’s relevant and we still remember what that ad was for 17 years after it hit our television screens.


Then of course there were the old Cottee’s Cordial ads. Now, they were a different proposition all together. “My dad picks the fruit that goes to Cottee’s, who make the cordial that I like best.” Brilliant!

It’s enough to make any proud Aussie parent go weak at the knees. Supporting local growers and giving our kids a ‘healthy’ beverage that will make them like us that little bit more for buying it for them – win-win.

One of my all time favorites is the Balfours What About Me campaign. That ad was like a 30-second, tear-jerking mini-drama. What self respecting patriotic Aussie would dare look at another brand after seeing that? Iconic sound track, cute kid and the experienced, kind purveyor of fresh baked goods all wrapped up in 100 years of history… ahhh!
The lesson is: mere mortals don’t buy with our heads, we buy with our hearts. We don’t care about the conventional and logical realities… our heart dictates and the occasional freebie is just an added win.

That’s why some old selling tactics just don’t work anymore. We don’t want to be told to haggle for the best price and we also know that 40 percent off and a free barbecue is actually just loaded into the original price. We aren’t stupid. Not only that, they are damaging to a company’s long-term brand.

Retailers love the immediate injection that sale time brings. It’s like a shot of adrenaline in the arm. We encourage it by demanding the best possible price at all times or else. But what happens when a business is not on sale? We abandon them for a dollar saving, then we are all up in arms when the likes of Spring Gully has to close its doors!
The reality is, if we want local businesses to survive and serve us at the highest possible level we have to be prepared to pay for it and loyalty works both ways. Imagine if we could live in a world where businesses earn our patronage with good products and great service and we repay them by not whining about a 10-cent price rise and show some loyalty to their brand. Maybe then, our eyes and ears will burn less and shit-marketing tactics will become a thing of the past. What do you reckon?

Published in Fritz Magazine January 2018 edition.

Richard Miller is Crisp Advertising’s Director and Creative Strategist

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