BRANDING VS. DIRECT RESPONSE
You’ve no doubt noticed that there is a marked difference in creative between local and national advertisements. Most watchers are even critical of how “cheap” or “loud” the local ads seem. There is a reason for this. Local advertisers need to include a direct response with a call to action. Meaning that you’re not only trying to become a top-of-mind resource for what you’re selling, but you also want them to act and visit your store/website or need your service today not tomorrow. This doesn’t mean that your advertisements should look “cheap,” but there is a reason why simple, homegrown videos go viral. They are not pretentious, nor are they a lofty, cerebral, or unattainable ideal.
Larger advertisers usually spend lots of money on branding. They want name recognition that translates into sales… eventually. It’s a long game. Some of these advertisers have done so for many years. They’ve had plenty of time to cement their brand with the public. Coca-Cola, for example, started advertising in 1886. If you’re a local business, branding is nice, but it’s a bit of a luxury. You need customers to act right now; you need to make sure that each ad you place has the highest potential to make a sale. Your video ad has to cut through the noise and clutter of all the other ads vying for consumers. You do this by engaging the viewer and grabbing their attention immediately. A person on TV talking directly to you, making an appeal is more likely to get your attention than a high-concept, semi-obscure, artsy spot. Even knowing this, I still sometimes challenge it by producing the occasional “outside-of-the-box” ad only to come back to the tried and true method. Fortunately, there are many ways to keep things fresh creatively, with humor and storytelling, but I’ll leave that for another post.
If you are a small, local business you don't waste time using video ads that are not going to get you immediate results. Your ad should not be hard to understand or vague. They should be clear, concise, and have a call to action. The simple structure is as follows:
OPEN: Use your business name and state the reason for the commercial. (Yes, right off the bat, people don't have time to stick-around forever).
MIDDLE: Quick details of the reason for the ad, why it's awesome and why they need it NOW.
CLOSE: Use your business name again and tell the viewer what to do. This is important. It is ALL about the call to action.
We aren’t re-inventing the wheel; these are methods that we know work. Years of trial and error have taught us that, even though platforms change and technology improves, making sure your video ad is made to achieve an immediate response from your customers is key.