A weak ad attempts to make too many points, and none of them very powerfully.
A weak ad is a bloated little porcupine.
A great ad drives a single point through one side of your house and out the other with all the momentum of a freight train. A powerful ad is a charging rhinoceros.
The world is covered in porcupine ads. They waddle slowly across your television screen. They crawl out of your radio like termites. Their dead carcasses are displayed on billboards along the highways. You stumble over them wherever you go.
If I paint an unpleasant picture, it is because porcupines are annoying little rodents.
But a charging rhino is a wonder to behold. It makes us stop what we’re doing and pay attention. A rhino pays no attention to the hall monitor who wags his finger and scolds, “No running in the hall!”
And that really pisses some people off.
Chris Torbay wrote a charging rhinoceros radio ad that makes a single point, very powerfully. I told you about it a few weeks ago, one day after it began charging across the sky from the tops of radio towers in Florida.
The ad features a woman who works at an insurance company:
My name is Michelle, and I work for Chapman Insurance. I work in the call center answering the phone. What kind of job is that you’re thinking? Well, when it’s your call, maybe I make a difference for you. Maybe you were dreading another one of those stupid corporate phone things with their “press one” and “press two” and “press six if a palm tree just fell on your dog house.”
[Now Michelle starts to become emotional, getting increasing wound-up as the ad progresses, until she finishes with thundering pride and deep conviction]
But you get to talk to a person, and you get to tell a real person how worried you are. And I get it, because I’m a real person, and I do this for a living. And I can see your policy and answer your questions because I know how confusing this can be!! And when you hang up, you feel like someone with a heart and a soul, and a pretty awesome understanding of insurance has had the basic human decency to answer the phone and talk to you like a person instead of making you press six!!! My name is Michelle. I work with Chapman and your insurance call matters to me!!!!
Does it surprise you that the insurance company has had multiple complaints about that ad?
It makes a single point:
“Business phones should be answered by knowledgeable people who can give you accurate and immediate answers.”
Rhinoceros ads always get complaints.
Chris Torbay has a younger brother named Mick Torbay who lives in Toronto and rides a rhinoceros everywhere he goes. Mick and I had lunch yesterday with Kyle Caldwell of Atlanta and Ryan Chute of Halifax. Mick said,
“When I unleash an ad, there is a specific number of complaints I’m looking for, and it isn’t zero.”
The rest of us nodded our affirmation.
The majority of people love to see a rhino put on a show. They love rhinos because rhinos are never boring. Porcupines are boring.
The rage of the tiny people who are shouting at Chapman Insurance are mostly business owners who are using those abominable “press one” and “press two” machines instead of having the basic human decency to answer the phone and talk to you like a person. You can see now how that ad could make them angry, right?
Porcupine lovers are prickly, and easily aggrieved, and quick to call and shout,
“Your ads are terrible! You’re not doing it right! You should hire a professional who knows how to talk about features and benefits and price and selection and value and convenience and how long you’ve been in business, and all the awards you’ve won, and say the name of your company at least 7 times in the first 30 seconds. You need to find an advertising professional who knows how to make your ad sound like an ad!”
Like I said, porcupines are annoying little rodents.
Roy H. Williams
After 16 years as a wedding photographer, Ryan Erickson decided he was barking up the wrong tree. He was making money, but he no longer had a passion for his work. So Ryan decided to try his hand at fine art photography, and now he’s thinking of going nationwide. His clients love how his fine-art portraits accentuate the subtleties of faces, especially the eyes. Ryan brings his state-of-the-art equipment to his clients in a mobile studio, but the most unique aspect of Ryan’s service are the free belly rubs he gives to each of the retrievers, shepherds, bulldogs, beagles, and other canines who pose for him. “It’s so much easier and enjoyable working with dogs,” Ryan tells roving reporter Rotbart and his co-host son, Maxwell. Today’s episode is going to the dogs! MondayMorningRadio.com