Ultra Tune or Ultra Fail?

I recently saw the new ad for Ultra Tune. I must say I’m a little surprised there haven’t been enough complaints to have the ad taken off the air. If you haven’t seen the ad, it depicts two girls driving their car when they break down on train tracks. A train is coming and hits the car yet the girls walk away unscathed. 

The problem with the ad is that it negates everything we are constantly reminded about in the media about the dangers of stopping on train tracks while driving. I think this Ultra Tune ad is irresponsible and I’d be very surprised if there isn’t more of a fuss made about it. What message is it sending to young drivers?

I believe a brand has a responsibility to it's customers to advertise facts. The facts are: if you are stuck in your car on train tracks when a train is coming, you are not going to walk away looking glamourous and Ultra Tune most definitely won't make it in time to save you!

Ultra Tune has come under attack for another ad which objectifies women and allegedly misleads viewers into believing they can win a trip to Wimbledon (the tennis tournament, not the English town). It will interesting to see whether Ultra Tune pulls their ads voluntarily or wait to be told by the ACCC or the advertising standards board.

It makes me wonder, who is designing and executing Ultra Tune's ads?

Too Much Information?

There has been such an evolution when it comes to the creation of ads, especially in print. I was recently researching ads to see what was happening out in the market place and was amazed by the contrast between ads of various companies. Thinking about my own experience in advertising, I realised that the variation in advertising often comes down to the person signing off on the ad before it goes to market.

In my experience, there are two types of print advertising: informational and graphic. A lot of ads are high in written content often communicating all the attributes of a product or company in a single ad. The graphic ads usually have an amazing graphic that tells the story. These I find are the ads that usually stand out in my mind. There are so many avenues that consumers can explore to get more information on a product that it hardly seems worth writing an essay of copy for an ad that may gain 5 seconds of attention. 

Don’t get me wrong, copywriting is important but we just need to know where to draw the line. Consumers can often visit a website or call customer service for more information on a product that its often not necessary to add all that information in an ad. I believe that valuable time should be spent on developing a great tagline and graphic representation to tell the story. 

A great example of this is an ad I found for Burger King. Their ad was a whopper sitting in a too small Big Mac box with the tagline: ‘Silly Whopper, that’s a Big Mac box.’ It was simple but it got the message across in a few words. There was no need to explain the size comparison between the two burgers. The graphic and the simple tagline did it all.

Quite often its not just about whether to have all that information but whether there is space for it. A few years ago I worked on an ad for a product that came in 10 colours. While working with the graphic designers we decided that it made more sense to have a graphic of the product in each colour rather than have each colour listed in the ad. It made the ad more visually appealing as well as less text heavy. 

If you’re fortunate enough to work in an organisation that has in-house designers you often have the luxury of being able to come up with a couple of variations of an ad to see what is more visually appealing. 

So next time you're working on an ad ask yourself: 'Would I stop to look at this ad?'

Publicity Is Free, Isn't It?

I often have clients ask me to develop press releases with the sole objective of getting free publicity for their product or service. While generally that is the purpose of a press release, it’s not always the result. Often my clients are left disappointed because they haven’t been mentioned in the latest industry magazine or website. After all, there are countless posts on social media proclaiming that journalists want your story and its up to you to provide the media with news. There is a little truth to this but the bigger truth is: nothing is free and you’re not the only one with a news story out there.

Up until a few years ago I was employed by a high end consumer electronics brand. Every time I sent out a press release, whether it was to announce the release of a new product or to announce changes within our organisation I always got some form of media exposure. This sounds contradictory to what I mentioned earlier but it’s not. What I didn’t mention previously is that my team and I had formed strong relationships with editors, journalists and reviewers in our field for years. We supported their publications and websites with advertising so there was no question that we would get some form of support from them when we needed it. There were publications that we didn’t advertise with but still managed to get publicity out of. Again, it comes back to relationships and that we had a product they wanted to talk about. 

Publications have now dramatically downsized since the evolution of digital content. The information usually sought out in magazines can now be found in a publication's online version. This being the case, magazines are smaller. To make a magazine smaller they have to cut back on editorial content. What editorial space there is available is reserved for clients that support the publication with advertising. You can’t argue with the logic.

Now I’m not saying that press releases are a waste of time. They’re not. They play an important role in a business’ media strategy. They serve the purpose of informing relevant media that you’re out there and that you have a great product or service. If your product or service is innovative, fills a gap in the market or is just a great product you will get exposure.

If you truly believe that your product or service deserves to be exposed to the public there are some ways you can assist in the process.

  • Call publications and have a chat to the relevant journalist or reviewer to talk about your product. You may not get anything on the first call but keep in contact with them, build the relationship.
  • If you are approaching local newspapers, they want the product or service to be relevant to their readers. Make mention of how your product or service is available to the people of a particular suburb.
  • Consider doing some small scale advertising in a publication you want to be featured in. While advertising can be expensive, most publications will have an online presence, you may be able to advertise online for a fraction of the print price. You can then negotiate some added value such as guaranteed editorial.

These are just a few things you can do to assist in gaining media exposure, there is so much you can do for your business, product or service to get the publicity and exposure you need.

If you would like help in putting together a press release or a media strategy you can email me on arizzo77@tpg.com.au

What Constitutes A Good Ad?

When creating an advertisement there are a few aspects to consider to ensure the effectiveness of your ad. 

Some things to consider:

  • Your creative approach is consistent with your brand’s advertising objective (product features, comparison of your products features with a competitor’s product features). Pricing is not always a good comparison
  • The suitability of the ad to the target audience
  • A strong message or concept (ensure the message is not overwhelmed by the creative execution)
  • A call to action. How do customers contact you? Where can customers purchase your product?

Taking these things into account when developing your ad can contribute to the success of your campaign. If you don’t have copywriters in your business consider hiring an agency or contractor like Absolute Marketing Communications to not only write the copy but also give creative direction on your ad as it develops. This not only means you are getting quality content for your ad but an objective opinion on the effectiveness of your ad.