Ok… so I admit that I’m too cheap to pay for Pandora One or whatever the premium version of the music genome project is called. I suppose I’ve never minded hearing the occasional commercial interruptions before and heck, the price is right.
So here I am vibing-out to my very own “Chill Out” station and plowing through the oodles of client work that built up while I was taking the holidays off. And that’s when I heard it. A commercial that irritated me so badly that I felt compelled to write this post.
Now keep in mind, when you’re hooked up to the free version of Pandora you don’t just hear a commercial message once in a day. NOOOO… you hear it repeatedly. Your eardrums are inundated with those professional voice-overs that make top Hollywood execs drool on themselves.
These :15-second spots spin ten times per hour so the message really sticks. I used to work in the radio business so I know about the power of repetition which is why this particular advertisement raked my nerves so badly.
The spot in question happened to be for King Soopers, a grocery chain which I believe is affiliated with the Kroger and City Market brands. Regardless, this commercial starts out by taking subtle jabs at the competition for being over-priced, inconvenient and unhelpful. Not necessarily the best way to start your message but that’s a story for another day. What bugged me the most was how the ad ended with:
King Soopers: Not just a place; it’s more like a friend.
BLAAAHHHH! Puke, yuck, spit, pituey, bleck!
What kind of crap is that? I mean seriously folks, have you ever thought of your local grocery store as a “friend?” Think about it…
When you get all dressed up to go out on Friday night, do you call up your local grocery store to see if it wants to hang out?
When your significant other breaks up with you and you need an understanding shoulder to cry on, do you call your local grocery store and ask to come over?
When you post those cool Instagram photos on Facebook of your most recent road trip, is your local grocery store there with you, riding shotgun?
Hell no. You know why? Because nobody in the history of the world has EVER once referred to their chosen grocery store as a “friend.” Sorry King Soopers, it just doesn’t happen. EVER!
So why the hell would you approve such a ridiculous ad in the first place? Your agency should be fired for being devoid of original thought.
I’ll tell you why I suspect you thought this message was a winner. Because it’s cliché. That’s right; you heard your ad for the first time and thought “Yep, that’s what advertising should sound like. We staff helpful people and offer great service so that must mean our store is like a friend.”
Nope! People are friendly, not your store. Got it? Good.
So here’s a thought. If you want to connect with me, your customer, on a personal level, then bring it down to the level of the actual people involved. Tell me a story, not just your company slogan. Tell me a tale that presents an everyday conflict I have and then introduce a hero (insert “your store” here) to solve that for me.
For example, paint a mental picture of a helpful stock-boy walking me over to the isle where I can find canned peaches. Describe the smile I get from your butcher when I ask about the fresh salmon you just flew in. Or heck, talk to me about how your pharmacist asks about my family in the same interested way that a neighbor greets my dog.
These are the personal connections that make your store seem “friendly.” Not your stupidly obvious tagline that seems so forced and unnatural that you actually turn me off.
More than anything… be original, be creative and stop being so wildly predictable. Hear me now; if you continue talking to me in “ad speak” then you’ll be preaching your message to my backside… as you watch me walk away.