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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Got Creativity? If You Use "Got ________?" You Don't | Bad Advertising

Got Milk? debuted in 1993 and has been copied ever since.
Probably the greatest advertising campaign in marketing history was born in 1993 and it has been ripped off by thousands of people and companies that think they're being cute and clever. Got Milk? was brilliant. Look at your advertising. Got Creativity? If you use "Got _______?" You don't. It's just bad advertising.

In 1993, milk sales were sliding. The California Milk Processors Board turned to powerhouse San Francisco advertising agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (GSP) for help.

Great advertising is the brainchild of simplicity and creativity. How can you get your message across in the purest, simplest form? GSP came up with two words and a punctuation mark to achieve the goals of their client. Got Milk? was an overwhelming advertising success. Psychologically, it was a tap on the should to the consumer to think about milk on the way home. Got Milk? Hmmmm. No. Better stop. It worked. And in 1995, the slogan Got Milk? was licensed to the National Milk Processor Board.

Since the two word campaign began, there have been copycats. I've seen everything from Got Dogs?, Got Cats?, Got Fish?, Got Beer?, Got Sex?, Got Brains? and a thousand other ripoffs of the original idea. On a PBS special about advertising, one of the principals of GSP said they could spend 24 hours a day suing people for copyright infringement and it would only take them away from the work they love to do. Retribution would be impossible and pointless.

Advertising is supposed to separate your from the heard, not clone you as just another cow. It's amazing how many corporations spend millions of dollars on buying media and put a lame message out on the airwaves and cable channels. What a waste of money.

I'll give you an example of how bad and out of touch a major corporation can be. You'd think the big guys would not make such colossal blunders with their huge marketing budgets. A month ago, I wrote a scathing piece on the ineptness of the advertising agency for Labatt Blue. Labatt Blue Beer's Advertising Agency Blows. Part of my criticism of their ad agency was that they had a very poor online presence, in addition to their "me too" weak advertising campaign.

Now, here's the funny part. I know a few things about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for blogs. I write my pieces with SEO in mind, every piece. Getting to the top of the search engine's first page is a tough feat, especially for a relatively new blog with a Google Page Rank of "0". Yup, ZERO. But I've been on the first page of Google and #1 on Yahoo and Bing several times since I started blogging again on March 7th, 2011.

I wrote my post and pumped it out in the usual fashion on Twitter and Facebook. I didn't spend a lot of time marketing the blog post because it talks to a niche audience in advertising and marketing, and I'm more comfortable goofing in the humor and satire genre.

After I quit marketing the piece, I still noticed that I was getting hits on it, steadily, every week. I went to Google and tried a few keywords related to Labatt. For the keywords: Labatt's Blue Beer and Labatt Blue Beer, I'm on page one of Google - and this is the best part - my post appears right under the pictures of Labatt Blue Beer. Here's photographic proof of my placement.

Snapshot from Google for search: Labatt Blue Beer
My article doesn't show up on Yahoo or Bing on the first page. It may be on a second or third page, but I didn't check. I was only interested to see if I had cracked through the online marketing for Labatt, and on Google, the grand daddy of search engines, I'm right there. #LOL. I have to tweet that.

My point is partially about SEO, but the bigger picture has to do with Labatt's advertising that lacks differentiation from its prime competitor, Bud Light. Whenever I see a Labatt Blue Light commercial, I think of Bud Light. It took me six months to realize the ads were for Labatt products.

I also think that Snickers and Nicorette's use of sharks in their commercials is not amusing but unsettling.

Bad Commercials | Snickers Peanut Butter Squared Ad Is Just Wrong - Nicorette, Too

Farmer's Insurance is running the most confusing ad campaign I've seen in quite some time. This fake Farmer's Insurance Agent University is just plain dumb. It does nothing to make me want to find out more about Farmer's Insurance. Frankly, I find the campaign a joke and it is more detrimental to their brand than enhancing it.

I'm also annoyed by advertising that is sneaky. I slammed Allstate Insurance for their phony and pretentious challenge to ask your current insurance company for your money back if you are unsatisfied, and then Allstate will only offer you a six month credit if you are not satisfied. I call that bait and switch.

Shame On Allstate Insurance For Their Bait And Switch

AT&T has been running some really funny commercials that grab your attention, make you laugh, and leave you knowing that it was AT&T who gave you the message. Ironically, both of the commercials involve destroying a phone. You've probably seen the ad with the two guys on the ski lift. In the end, the annoyed, bearded guy, grabs the phone and pitches it into the snow. The latest offering has a trio sitting at a restaurant and the man that is either the husband or date of the woman puts his phone on the table and his screen saver is a spider. The woman screams and her father (I'm assuming) rips off his shoe and pounds the phone into oblivion. Destroy the product that you need to use the service, interesting, and funny.

Volkswagen has a new crossover SUV called the Tiguan. What is a Tiguan? After some research on the origin of the name, I found out that it's a cross between a Tiger and an Iguana. Still not very inspiring. Originally, I thought it was just a bad Scrabble pick. But a major corporation is going to try to brand a made up name that means nothing in any language. Call it a Blerp - A Blue Burp. I'm still scratching my Tiguan to figure out the reasoning in product R&D on that name.

Creativity and simplicity are what will separate you from the blur of marketing messages we are bombarded with on a daily basis. Got Milk? was brilliant. Look at your advertising. Got Creativity? If you use "Got _______?" You don't. It's just bad advertising.

Related articles:
Labatt Blue Beer's Advertising Agency Blows
Bad Commercials | Snickers Peanut Butter Squared Ad Is Just Wrong - Nicorette, Too
Shame On Allstate Insurance For Their Bait And Switch

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