WOLF BITES - Issue 19 (cont'd)

And my vote for worst commercial of the year

SPDR commercial.
SPDR commercial.

Does this sound like a good idea for a television commercial:

We show a submarine that's sinking. It's shot like a movie – very dramatic images, haunting music. The submarine sinks like a stone. All is lost! We are now at the 40-second mark of a 60-second commercial (and have no idea what is being promoted).

Suddenly, we hear the voice of a woman, who says, "Time to get out, Billy?" (We still don't know what is happening. In fact, we are even more confused) We then cut to a shot of a toy submarine in a bath tub. (What?) Next, a voice-over announcer asks: Do you know what is in your investments? (Investing?) Are you sure about that? (No, I'm not sure of anything.)

I saw this television commercial a few times and completely ignored it because there was nothing to attract my attention. I had no idea what was being sold or why I should care. The ad didn't run long (no surprise). But before it disappeared, I took some time, strictly out of professional curiosity, to study what the ad was trying to do.

I discovered that it is a 60-second spot, which is unusual and very expensive, and that almost the entire commercial had nothing to do with the product (investment advice). Even worse, there was no clear story line. What does a sinking sub and a kid playing with a toy sub have to do with investment advice? Nothing. You can't find a connection with a search warrant. Bottom line: you can have a huge budget and Hollywood-like production values – and still make a very bad commercial.

So how could this have been better? Easy. Connect the two story lines – the sinking sub and the kid playing with a sub in the bathtub – with a promise of benefit. For example, imagine hearing these words while watching a much more tightly edited series of scenes showing the sinking sub and the kid playing with a sub in the bath:

First impressions can be very misleading. In fact, what you think you see – and what is actually happening – can often be very different things. That's why you need an investment advisor like SPDR…

Full disclosure: No advertising agency is perfect. We all do work that turns out wrong despite our best efforts and intensions.

Read Wolfgang's latest marketing blog.


Wolfgang Franke is President & Creative Director of Words at Work Advertising & Marketing, a full service communications company established in 1988. Our growing list of valued clients are found throughout our local market, Markham and the Greater Toronto area, across Canada in cities such as London, Ontario, and Edmonton, Alberta, and an expanding list of international locations ranging from The Big Apple in New York to Kanturk, Ireland.




Proven advertising and marketing results delivered by project, outsourcing or retainer
for companies large and small in Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Mississauga, Toronto and beyond...

Words at Work Advertising & Marketing Inc.
19 Lockridge Avenue, Unionville, Ontario, Canada L3R 7S6
Telephone: 905-940-6610     Toll-Free Outside Toronto: 1-877-940-6610

Home | Why Us? | Services | Web Marketing | Show & Sell | Getting Started | FAQ | Contact | Site Map


Words at Work Advertising & Marketing
Toll Free Outside Toronto: 1-877-940-6610