Answering Someone Else’s Marketing Questions
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Dec 23, 2008
One of the best things about Twitter is that, if you’re following the right people, every once in awhile you come across something that just peaks your interest, and then you have to investigate it.
This happened a little while ago when I came across a Twitter post by Dr. Letitia Wright saying that she’d left what was probably the longest comment she’s ever left on someone else’s blog. Me being the curious type, I just had to go see what she was talking about, and I came upon a post by Frank Conrad Martin on his blog Marketing Magic where he asks 30 questions about marketing in general, not specifically internet marketing. Dr. Wright decided to respond to every single question he asked, and I like her answers, mainly because she took the time to answer them. And I pretty much agree with them, but of course I have my own take on them. I hope you go and visit the article so you can read all the questions for yourself. However, I’m going to respond to a few of them here.
1. Why are pigs always smiling and dancing on signs at a Barbecue Restaurant? Does anyone think that pigs are happy about barbecue? This is a good one, something I’ve always wondered when I go to certain restaurants and see the happy faces of what it is you’re about to eat. Frankly, most of the time it creeps me out, but as I thought about it, I figure that it’s a pretty good advertising trick because you easily know what a restaurant’s main thrust is, even if it doesn’t say it in the name. I guess it’s better having the animals smiling than having them look like they want to kick your behind for eating them.
2. Does anyone know anyone who has *ever* purchased an item from pop-up ads? I’ve wondered this one myself. I know Problogger and the like stated that they saw dramatic increases in their newsletter subscriptions once they added that stupid little popup on their sites, but you know how much popups irritate the heck out of me. Yet, those aren’t the only types I’ve seen. Will anyone admit to buying something because a popup or popunder stopped them from leaving a site by offering a ridiculously good offer? Will anyone admit to buying something because, while they were reading an article, one of those floating popups came by offering some other unbelievably good deal?
5. Why is it OK to use stereotypes in ads, as long as the stereotypes are only for white men? Why are men so frequently depicted as inept or clueless in advertising presumably designed to sell them stuff? This is one of those questions that’s only ever asked by the majority of whatever country a person happens to be from. People in general, at least those with any kind of sense of humor, tend to parody themselves. In America, all the ad companies are run by white men for the most part, so who would they be expected to lampoon and not have people picketing outside of their doors? And the writer has this one wrong, or hasn’t he ever noticed how the music in the background is different if the person in the ad is a minority? For a marketing guy to not have figured this one out just kind of amazes me, but it also makes it look like he’s never left the country; for those of you who are in other countries, tell us which group gets lampooned the most where you live. I’m betting it’s the majority male.
8. Does the nudity in European advertising get more attention and sell more stuff than the more fully clad ads in the USA? Another one I obviously can’t answer, but I will admit to being shocked by what advertisers can get away with in other countries that just won’t fly here. Still, it’s an intriguing question overall; does sex on TV really sell more, no matter the country? Do I need to add more pictures of pretty women on my blog to start making some sales (I know Sire’s answer lol)?
9. How much viagra and “male enhancement” are actually sold via spam email? Could anyone *really* trust their credit card numbers to those spam marketers? Once again, you know how much I hate spam, and it’s a question I’ve asked elsewhere, that being just what do spammers think they’re deriving from all that they’re sending out? If you remember, I wrote on a post talking about legitimizing spam where someone sent out almost 470 million pieces of spam email and got 28 people to purchase from them. People around the world have gotten more savvy, and the spammers have gotten more desperate, and this is really a very legitimate question because it shows that, even though we’re all gotten smarter, there are still a few people out there who need more information on how to protect themselves.
15. Why are so many television commercials dumbed down to the 5th grade level of comprehension? Because advertisers have looked at statistics which show that at least half the American population can only read well at a 3rd grade level. You think I’m making that one up? Based on statistics put together by The Informatics Review, in 1995, 41.6% of American patients could not comprehend directions for taking medication on an empty stomach. One in four Americans is a high school dropout. Parents with young children overall read at a higher level than the norm, but only at a 7th grade level. Even Medicare requires any written correspondence for their subscribers has to be written at the level of a 3rd grader. So, this one makes sense because, unfortunately, we’re not a country full of Mensa candidates.
27. Do politicians or their managers *really* believe voters are stupid enough to believe the negative drivel they push late in the campaigns? They do because it’s true, unfortunately. Barack Obama had a double digits lead on McCain until the campaign got ugly, with the Republican National Committee deciding to keep pushing the fact that his middle name was “Hussein” (anyone see the racist intent there?), that he even knew a reverend and a former American “terrorist” (heck, might as well call that one for what it was) and wouldn’t repudiate either as they wanted him to (nope, just saying he disagreed with their positions wasn’t enough for them), and then, when they wanted more juice, decided to try to get people to believe that he wasn’t even American enough to be legally elected. I hate negativity in campaigns, but it works; or did you not see this video from Ohio that I posted back in October?
Anyway, those are the questions I wanted to address, but there are so many more. Please, visit the site, read the questions, do some thinking, and either respond to him or write your thoughts here. I’ve just marketed for the both of us.