Funny Business

January 1999


Funny Business

Your ads may make your customers laugh, but they may not make them buy

Outlandishly creative ads may pique interest in a brand, but they have to push the product too. That's the lesson learned by Nissan Motor Corp. USA, which is reworking its marketing campaign after suffering a $513 million drop in profits last year.

Nissan's ad campaign during the past two years was popular and won artistic awards, Michael Seergy, Nissan's vice president and general manager of brand sales, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.The TV spots ranged from hilarious (a dog hypnotizes his master and makes him chauffeur his canine pals) to surreal (a boy slips into the Oz-like Dream Garage). But the ads didn't directly address the consumer, so people weren't motivated to visit dealerships, according to Seergy.

Humor, special effects or an offbeat approach make ads memorable, but the memory must be relevant to the company's products or services, according to an article in Marketing Toolsmagazine. If an ad is too creative, people will mentally refer to the clever ad instead of the must-have product, and in the worst-case scenario, won't remember which product was being advertised in the first place.

In Nissan's case, its quirky ad slogan "Dogs love trucks" caught on around the country as a funny, nonsensical sound bite. "But we haven't sold too many trucks to dogs," Seergy said.

– by Stacey King

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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