Winning The Ad Super Bowl

Sometimes when I’m lazing in front of the telly, I find myself oddly drawn to the strangest of ads… ads that have absolutely nothing to do with the product, but linger long after a supermarket promotes their latest specials or some chap explains how his painkillers actually target pain. This begs the question: “how relevant is relevance?” How important is it to make an ad that actually has something to do with the product? If Super Bowl XLVIII is anything to go by, it’s nowhere near as important as how your ad makes people feel.Puppy Love

The Super Bowl is the single most viewed event on the planet. Super Bowl XLVIII was viewed by hundreds of millions watching across the globe. That’s a goldmine for companies looking to get their brand out to the most massive of mass audiences. But with 30 seconds of airtime costing US$4 million, you almost have to sell a goldmine too. So what do these companies and their ad agencies come up with to get a return on their sizeable investment?

Forget sex sells. Cute sells.

USA Today’s Ad Meter – found that Budweiser’s Puppy Love ad was the consumer favourite. It’s the story of a puppy at a breeder’s farm who befriends a horse, to the point where the horses prevent that puppy’s adoption to keep the little Labrador with them. It’s beautifully shot, the animals are amazingly well trained, and it tells a heartwarming story with a happy ending – a tale of friendship that transcends species. It also has absolutely nothing to do with beer. But Budweiser doesn’t care.

They care that their story made hundreds of millions feel warm and fuzzy inside on that day, as well as millions more on YouTube (it has over 45 million views there). They care that their brand is associated with happiness, the importance of friendship and the joy that comes with being “best buds”. And they care that when people are browsing at the bottle shop, hundreds of millions will think of that ad with the cute puppies and horses, and make a beeline to a carton of Budweiser.

Next time you’re coming up with a campaign, think carefully not just about your product, but about the feelings you want your brand to be associated with. The pay off could be substantial!

– Magnus

Do You Speak Reptilian?

Fact: you don’t need to be a brain surgeon to manipulate someone’s brain. You just need lizardto know what language speaks to the part of the brain that controls emotion. Once you learn this half the “sales battle” is already won.

The part of the brain in question is called the ‘Reptilian Brain’ and it’s the oldest and most critical part of our grey matter. This section of our brain works quickly and simply. If the decision process making becomes too convoluted the Reptilian Brain takes over.

So how do we get a one way ticket to this part of the brain? With clever copy that directly addresses our target market’s pain points. As a copywriter, I need to distil the message down to its most basic form and then relate that to how it will benefit the caller.

Let’s take the two messages below for example. The first one focuses on the company, the second on the caller.

FV: Thank you for holding. We are open from 7am until 10.30pm every day of the week and stock a huge range of nappies, formulas, baby garments, pacifiers and more. Think of us as your one stop baby shop.

Not that compelling, right? Now let’s try it by speaking directly with the Reptilian Brain.

SFX intro: Crickets chirping. Baby Starts Crying. Crickets stop but baby keeps crying in the background
FV: (Tired) Honey, wake up. We’re out of nappies – could you nip down to the pharmacist? Oh and pick up some formula too.
MV: (Annoyed) What? At this hour?
FV: It’s okay – they’re open until 10.30 at night! (end SFX)
FV2: (Voice Over) Acme Pharmacist – open 7am to 10.30pm for life’s little emergencies.
SFX outro: Baby cooing

Rather than telling the caller about the hours and range, the second message demonstrates it. It focuses on the benefit of being available late at night and provides evidence of their solution to the caller’s problem. Instead of listing items, it creates a scenario that highlights the core concept of baby products available late at night. Most importantly, it recognises that familiar feeling all parents get when a baby won’t go to sleep. Put simply, it tugs on a parent’s emotional strings.

The key point to remember when writing for the Reptilian Brain is to focus on why the subject is important to the listener and how it will benefit them. If you’d like to learn more about appealing to your caller’s “Reptilian Brain”, check out this great article by Action Words on Neuromarketing that offers 6 simple rules for selling.