“Rule Number One: The Customer Is Always Right. Rule Number Two: If The Customer Is Wrong, See Rule #1”. That sign is a staple of virtually every small business in the U. S. A. Recall how many times have you’ve seen it?
This is not a posting disputing that slogan…rather, a question to those business owners and copywriters who actually believe they’re focusing on the customer in their commercial advertisements. Sadly, the ads usually are focused on seller.
Exactly how are you supposed to lure in patrons to prove to them they’re “right” when your advertising gives them no reason to visit you?
I call this the “Waving Our Flag Syndrome”. The biggest offenders of this philosophy are (in no particular order):
- Auto Dealers
- Furniture Stores
- Medical Facilities (usually hospitals)
Of course, there are many more categories of advertisers who unknowingly fall into this trap. Those three immediately jumped to my mind.
Simply put, the “Waving Our Flag Syndrome” means the copywriter(s) – usually someone not skilled in copy-writing – composes a commercial script solely focused on what the business is selling. Instead, the focus of the advertisement should be on the audience.
After all, who is going to hear the commercial and hopefully react to it? Someone who works at the store? Or Suzy Creamcheese driving her minivan down the street with her 2.5 children strapped in the car-seats?
Overuse of personal pronouns. “We”. “Us”. “Our”. For example:
- “We have too many Toyota’s on our lot, and we’ll have to pay tax on them in a week”!
- “Our three-acre showroom is full of sofas that have to be sold now!”
- “We’re the only hospital in Denver with the latest Super-Magnificent Heart-Fixer-Machine-Thingy.”
In the first example, the fact that the car dealer has too many cars on their lot is their problem…not the problem of the consumer. The implication is: you’ll get a great deal because they have to sell the autos.
The second example is very similar to the first, in that the excess inventory is the problem of the business, not the consumer.
The third scenario is merely boasting that they have the latest technology. That’s a good thing, but there are far better ways to convey those same messages.
For example #1, the auto dealer, try this approach:
“No matter what your budget is, or the style of auto you’re looking for, Tim Burt Motors is stocked full of mechanic-inspected, pre-owned vehicles just waiting for you to pick one to drive home.”
Here’s how I’d re-write the furniture store ad:
“At Tim Burt’s Furniture Warehouse, you’ll find 263 different sofas every day..from extra-firm to pillow soft. And it’s okay if you want to sit in every single one of ’em.”
As for the medical facility:
“Burt University Medical Hospital has the latest ‘Heart-Machine-Thingy’ that can detect even the slightest abnormality. A quick, painless diagnosis now could help prevent heart disease, or a heart attack later.”
THE NEXT STEP
Re-evaluate all of your advertising. If you’re writing copy that is too personal-pronoun heavy, start over.
This boils down to a couple of simple steps:
- Educating the client that only talking about themselves in their commercials does their business no good.
- It’s about the experience that the audience will have once they are convinced to try your product/good/service. That’s the selling point.
Remember, a good commercial advertisement in any form is about one-to-one communication. When you walk on to a car dealer lot, is the first thing out of a salesperson’s mouth “We have over 300 cars for you to look at!”? Of course not. It’s always “what are you looking for?”
*COMING MONDAY, JUNE 27th* Another “Commercial Fail Bitch-Slap! – (Possibly) The worst shoe store commercial you’ll hear all day.