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What Does a $4 Million Super Bowl Ad Have To Do With Salon Marketing?

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

By Grant Miller, Salon Consultant

Over 111 million people watched the Super Bowl in 2014, making it the most watched television program in history. With that much viewership, FOX was charging $4 million for a 30-second spot. A normal, rational person would assume that if a company had $4 million to spend on a single TV commercial, they must know what they are doing.

More often than not, big companies do the least effective type of advertising — branding or awareness — during these slots. The premise is simple: If you watch a commercial promoting Doritos  or Budweiser, you may want to buy some the next time you go to the grocery store. I personally enjoy the story and creativity of the Budweiser ads, but it still won’t compel me to buy a case of their beer.

Even though brand awareness advertising can be effective for a big company sometimes, it often does not work, even when you are paying $4 million. For example, the ad that told the story of the Chihuahua/Doberman dog mix that wreaked havoc scored very high in audience tests for being amusing, entertaining and funny. I bet you couldn’t name what brand product that commercial was promoting even two days after it aired.

There was really only one company that ran what I’m sure turned out to be a very effective marketing message. It was the T-Mobile commercials. In the first of two versions, Tim Tebow talked about how not having a contract freed him up to do all this great stuff. I liked the other version, which had a simple pink background with words appearing on the screen that you had to read to yourself with a person whistling in the background. I said they know how you hate contracts and if you switch to T-Mobile they will pay off every penny of your existing contract. If you dislike your current cell phone company but are stuck in a contract, that is a very compelling message.

Their message would also work equally well in print, radio, billboards, Google ads, Facebook, etc. A great marketing message works in multiple media, so don’t just think of this an an effective television commercial. It’s an effective marketing message.

They identified a problem, created a very good solution, made you an offer and told you how to respond. The only thing I would have added is a relatively short deadline to respond, something like, “This exceptional offer expired after midnight on February 5.”

This is exactly the kind of marketing you need to be doing for your salons: emotional, direct response. Create an ad with a compelling, irresistible offer that solves a problem. Tell them exactly what they need to do to take immediate action. That will get them parading into your salon, and it won’t cost you $4 million.


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