Stupid Bowl Commercials

Have you been watching TV commercials lately? How about Super Bowl commercials? They’re right around the corner. I used to enjoy watching these but as of the last few years even they are a letdown. Think back to last year’s commercials:

  1. Pepsi Twist and Diet Pepsi Twist featured Ozzy Osbourne in a nightmare. Can you say, “overdone?” Well you can’t argue with success. That Pepsi Twist really took the country by Storm this year, huh? Not!
  2. Reebok featured linebacker Terry Tate helping managers of a fictional company improve their performance by tackling them and yelling like a drill sergeant. Oh yea it’s really funny seeing office workers getting tackled. Duh? Can anybody tell me what that has to do with Reebok?
  3. Quiznos spotlighted one of their employees who only think about making the best sub sandwich, leaving his bird to die in a cage and making a sandwich without his pants on. Now do you really want a sandwich from a guy that forgot to put his pants on? He probably forgot to wash his hands too. Yuck!

Remember, these are supposedly the best of the best in advertising today. These beauties cost a cool mil or more to air! Is this really the finest Madison Avenue has to offer? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have my 12 year old nephew put together my next batch of ads than these “hotshot” creative geniuses.
The Problem with Marketing Materials
Let’s face it, most marketing or advertising, even professionally prepared ads, are poorly done. The message is rarely clear, concise, compelling, credible, relevant, interesting or unique. In addition, it miserably fails in four other key areas:

  1. Wrong Orientation – focused on what we do rather thanwhat they get
  2. Weak Content – Not enough information to persuade, contains poor or no evidence
  3. Tasteless Layout or Design – creates the wrong image and difficult to read
  4. Typos and Grammatical Errors – damages credibility
Creating Headlines
The first step is creating the headline. We establish our position with headlines in our marketing. Most marketing or advertising communications have a headline. The headline is typically designed to “get attention.” In some cases, a compelling visual is used to get attention and the headline draws the reader into the copy text. 


  • Problem – Focuses on the problem that the prospect is facing thereby increasing their pain.
  • Solution – Focuses on the solutions or benefits that the company, product or service provides.
  • Motive – Focuses on not so much what the customer wants but why they want it.
  • Analogies – A clever or creative way of explaining the problem, solution, or motive which the marketing device is attempting to communicate.
  • Combination – These headlines use a combination of strategies such as a problem/solution ad or an analogy that explains the problem or a motive that uses an analogy.

ApplicationLet’s put aside the big budget wacko Super Bowl ads and focus on a typical ad for a small business. Say, a yellow page ad. The best way for me to demonstrate what works versus what doesn’t is to actually show you two versions of the same ad. This one is for a day care center. It is a very compelling example of a yellow page ad that works as compared to one that is rather ineffective. 
This ad adheres to none of the rules we’ve discussed. The focus of the ad is “Established in 1970.” Who cares? It says day care center but I already know that since that’s the section in which the ad appears.

This ad clearly focuses on the solution to the biggest problem: “Will I be comfortable with my baby there?” It is targeted, compelling, obvious, concise and uses a striking visual that hits an emotional chord. What is most powerful about this re-design is that it certainly boosted response and it didn’t cost one more penny to run!
I hope this demonstrates the principles of effective marketing in a practical way for you. In my “Attract More Business” program I tear apart dozens of ads, brochures, commercials and other marketing and advertising. I show you how to critique them and re-assemble them in a powerful and compelling way. To read more about it, go to

Have a great week!
I hope that this “Business Update” has been helpful in assisting you to improve the performance of your organization. For more information on how the Small Business Advisory Network assists companies in improving their performance, please feel free to contact us at 310-320-8190 or email 

Mark Deo

Posted in Effective Advertising, Uncategorized.

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