A while back one of the people that I follow on Tumblr posted a personal opinion about some of the problems with advertising. His post was in reply to a frustrated Hulu viewer and the lack of clarity in a Geico commercial.
“I’m watching a series on Hulu (with a proxy) and there keep being advertisements for Geico, I’ve seen like 6 different ones. I still have no idea what Geico is.”
Personally, I’m a bit impressed that this person has been subject to the excessive number of advertising campaigns that Geico has been using lately and still doesn’t know what they are promoting, but the fact remains that any type of a promotion piece should feature both a clear explanation of the service and a call to action. In the rare cases that companies can incorporate mystery into their campaigns, the call to action needs to be even more effective.
As a PR student, this simple component of a call to action is continuously pounded into our head. However, as a communications intern, I sometimes forget. The interaction between any company and their stakeholders is a relationship. This relationship, like any other, requires clear communication of your goals and what you want from the other party.
Now, on Tumblr I decided to play devils advocate and point out that Geico had ultimately made an impression on the viewer. She was obviously interested enough in the service to post about it on her blog. Even more impressive, she spelled it right. Ultimately I’m sure her followers have clearly explained the service to her by now, and she managed to generate conversation about the company. That’s actually a pretty successful reaction to any commercial.
Successful but rare. Most viewers will ignore something they don’t understand. One girl on Tumblr is not a strong enough ROI for the price of a commercial. So be sure that your promotion pieces are both easy to understand and motivate action.