Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Did you really answer the question?

I was listening to a radio ad for a university today. They asked "If you could do something to make your life better right now, would you?" And then they launched into a sales pitch for their university ("call the university today to sign up for fall classes, we have...<insert college fare>..."). Then they finished up with a call-to-action something like "call today and register".

There is something very subtle in that commercial. They begin by asking a question, and then go directly into telling us about their product. Problem is, they never really say that their product is the answer to the question. It's like this:

Commercial: "Would you like to know how to bake cookies?"

Me: "Heck yeah! I likes me some cookies!"

Commercial: "OK! We teach math lessons better than anyone else. Call us today for more information!"

Me: "Wha?"

In my example, the business has a great service, and many people could benefit from math lessons. But math lessons don't answer the question "Would you like to know how to bake cookies", nor do they provide a solution if you DO want to know how to bake cookies.

That brings up another point with asking a question at the beginning of a commercial - like what if the answer is not as you anticipated it? Of course it is assumed that a reasonable person would want to make their life better. If a person will do anything to make that happen is the real question. But the purpose of this post is to point out that they don't tie it all together. If you're going to ask me if I want to know how to make cookies, you'd better explain to me how you can help me know how to make cookies.

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R. Holloway said...

Great insight. The world often holds out the answers to life's most important questions and then switches the "product" on us at the last minute.

Maggie said...

I think Math lessons are incredibly important if you want to know how to make cookies...especially equations & the ability to perform conversions if you are tweaking a recipe. ;)
love you bro :) :) ((sorry - I've had 2 hours sleep with the potential of 1 hour remaining and STILL can't get to sleep...so you suffer along side of me)) :) :)

Louie Mercer, Frank Mercer and Mike Ellis: The Church for Men Dudes said...


Thanks for your comments on the CFM blog.