When I receive communications from brands that begin with ‘Thank you for being a loyal customer bla bla bla…’, I feel like strangling the copywriter who wrote that opening.
But I am a fellow copywriter too, so perhaps just a smacking will suffice.
If I can’t find Coke, I’d probably drink Pepsi. No Pringles? Yeah okay, Mr. Potato will do. When Maxis sucked, I moved on to Digi.
Like most consumers, I’m hardly loyal. And I’ve repeatedly cheated on the brands that think I am their loyal customer. There is a significant difference between being loyal to a brand and being loyal to something that influences your life such as a loved one.
That difference is called emotion.
Brands try really hard to make an emotional connection with their customers, but often fail miserably. There is just no way for a brand to replace what really matters; like family, friends, career and all other attributes that make up our personality.
So I feel annoyed at the capacity of brands to assume that I am loyal to an entity that is purely after my money. But the truth is:
I am not loyal, I have no choice.
I would end my relationship with you the moment someone offers me a better deal, and as long as I have nothing to lose by moving on.
Yes, the caveat is ‘if I have nothing to lose’. Which is why, mortgages have a ‘lock-in’ period that charges a hefty sum. Also the reason behind why telcos have contracts that impose a penalty upon termination.
And then they have the cheek to call me loyal!
If brand communications were truthful, then that letter would say ‘thank you for not going to our competitor, we really need your money to pay our inflated corporate salaries bla bla bla…’
You know, advertising isn’t always about big budgets, kick-ass creatives and mind-boggling strategies.
Sometimes, all it takes a little bit of genuine effort to keep customers happy.
Have you heard about an American restaurant chain called Red Robin? Neither have I, until I read about how they created loads of positive media attention for just USD$11.50 (about RM34.70).
Noticing a heavily pregnant customer at his restaurant, the manager of Red Robin, North Carolina did this:
Yes, this was just an employee making a positive gesture, something that is severely lacking in Malaysian restaurants that for sure.
But the customer was so appreciative of the gesture that she decided to tell the world. That little piece of receipt went social and then viral, and ultimately made national headlines in the US.
You might think could have happened at any restaurant chain in America. Not really. Red Robin’s employees practice a culture called ‘Unbridled Act’, which encourages positive behavior.
And apparently, this wasn’t the first discount given at random to customers. They’ve been doing it for a while, it just so happens that this particular gesture made the news, probably because of the oh-so-sweet personal message.
Intentional or not, it worked. And worked in a way that even a big budget 30-sec TVC or a print ad with a catchy headline will never emulate.
Sometimes, it’s just about the little things. You know?
Advertising and humour often go hand-in-hand. But do funny ads actually work?
As you may be aware, I am a fan of comedy. I just love being humoured; by comedians, sitcoms, friends and sometimes, ads too.
For a copywriter like me, humour offers a much-needed respite from all the mind-numbing chaos.
So here’s a recent ad from Maxis that I thought was really funny. Yes, I am amazed at myself for showcasing a Maxis ad positively, considering how I whacked them the last time. But credit is due where it is due I suppose.
But wait. On with the ad first…
Now, if you are like me – someone who absolutely hates online videos that go into buffering mode – you may have found the ad funny. But did the ad compel any kind of action from you?
Again, if you are like me – someone who can be a real lazy arse sometimes – you didn’t take any action. As in call Maxis, look for more info online or run to the nearest Maxis outlet to register for this wonderful fibre internet.
This is the problem with funny ads. While they may steal your attention and be memorable; it doesn’t guarantee a response from consumers.
And don’t for a moment think being funny improves brand awareness either.
People usually only remember that a particular ad is funny, but often struggle to remember the brand or product. Think about your favourite funny ad; do you remember the product?
Ace Metrix – a television and video analytics agency – studied funny ads in the US for over a year and drew the following conclusions:
- Funny ads were memorable and appealing, but were less likely to increase desire or purchase intent
- Humour in ads work better when it is used as a supplement rather than a replacement
When consumers are not compelled to take action after seeing your ad, it usually means money down the drain.
So be funny at your own peril, or risk becoming a joke.