Guidelines to help you use television to its fullest potential and generate the awareness necessary for a great new store grand opening.
First, let’s talk about the nature of television. It’s the only medium (if you don’t include digital video) that engages both the audio and visual aspects of your brain. The combination of the two gives TV the greatest potential for memorability of all the mediums. Which also makes it the most expensive. Why do I say potential for memorability? Think of it this way. Just because you put a commercial on television doesn’t mean it’s going to be memorable. If the spot is boring dreck, then TV isn’t going to help it be anything else. However, if you use TV to its fullest potential by creating an interesting spot that fully engages the senses, then, TV can give your new store the kind of awareness no other medium can. In short, if you want the most people possible within a certain area to know the name of your new store and what you sell = awareness, run an aggressive TV schedule. Surely, you’ve heard someone describe another person as being “broad strokes.” Meaning they are, good with big ideas, but not so much with details and follow through. TV is a broad strokes medium. It is best used to generate emotion, to make people feel a certain way about your product. Therefore, in my opinion, you’re wasting money on television if you’re creating a spot that is a laundry list of benefits = not generating emotion. There’s also waste involved with television from a media aspect: a lot of people end up seeing your spot that have absolutely no interest in what you’re selling. Sure, TV can be targeted – to a degree – but certainly not with the accuracy of say, direct mail. Now, if after all this, you still feel TV is right to advertise your grand opening, then let me offer some guidelines to make your spot the best it can be.
1. Cut through the clutter
There are more products and services being advertised today than ever before. If you want your TV spot for your new store to get noticed in the midst of this, messy milieu…something about it needs to be original and/or unexpected.
2. Be memorable
“Original” and “unexpected” will get you noticed, but a spot doesn’t necessarily stick with you unless it touches an emotional chord = makes you feel something and/or identify with a human emotion in another person. That doesn’t mean your spot needs to be sentimental and maudlin to connect. A spot that comes to mind is from Volkswagen: It begins with a guy looking at a new VW on the lot admiringly. When a salesman brings another couple over to look at the car, the guy bends down and licks the handle on the car – in affect marking his territory – so that the couple will move on and let him have it. I have an emotional connection with the guy as a viewer…because I can relate to wanting something that badly – in this case a car. And that brings up another point, the VW spot also succeeds because it makes the product – the car – the focus. Which leads us to number 3.
3. Have a single focus
You only have :30 seconds to show and tell. Don’t waste it on a laundry list of details (services, locations, benefits, inventory) – that’s not the best use of TV. In the case of a new store grand opening, the single focus would be that “a store that sells X,Y and Z is now open.” You need to find a dramatic visual way to support/wrap around that news – one that touches an emotional chord. Save the lists for a video, or a direct mail piece. Always try to “show,” first, in your TV spot, rather than “say.” This is using the medium to its fullest. TV is like lightening, you see it before you hear it.
4. Be relevant
Your spot must be relevant to what you’re selling at your new store. For a spot to make someone want to buy something from you (which is what television is second best at, remember, after awareness). It has to feature content that is relevant to what you’re selling. An example: you run :25 seconds of old footage of Jimi Hendrix playing a guitar solo, then put up the logo for 5 seconds of the Humane Society. Will people watch it? Heck, yeah. Emotional chord = Remember it? Absolutely – it’s Jimi Hendrix. Will they remember that the Jimi Hendrix footage was brought to them by the Humane society? Maybe. Will it forward the cause of the humane society one whisker? No. Because the two things – Jimmy Hendrix playing, and the Humane Societies – remain unrelated when all is said and done. That would require some clever copywriting, and I’m from the art side. In conclusion, if you take but one thing from this blog, let it be this. The medium of television offers the greatest potential for memorability. That potential can only be realized if you first create an original, relevant spot that touches an emotional chord.