I don’t watch TV on a regular basis – I don’t even have cable.
It was at the gym I first noticed the maniacal dancing buffoons Value City Furniture had elected to embrace in promoting their all-too-frequent sales.
Do you know the spots that I’m talking about?
If not, let me bring you up to speed:
Still have enough brain cells left to read on?
Recall is everything with TV advertising
It’s a feat that’s grown harder to achieve given the rising prevalence of DVRs and our now almost instinctual tendency towards thumbing at our smartphones during breaks in programming.
For the Value City spots to stick, it took (in my case) just under an hour of less-than-passive TV viewing between sets – an advertising success by most fundamental marketing standards.
Sure they went against the grain, opting to irritate rather than intrigue – but what choice does a budget-conscious, economy furniture retailer have?
They can’t tout quality or craftsmanship. They haven’t any exclusive lines or signature styles.
They’ve got to unleash a non-sequitur – something totally off topic and spurious that makes viewers say “what?”
But at what extreme in securing recall does advertising fail to deliver tangible results?
That is, at what point does associating random/unrelated visuals with your product or brand start to work against you?
We say Value City crossed it with their Presidents’ Day Sale.
(I know, Presidents’ Day was 7 months ago – it wasn’t until I saw a new spot with “regular people” that I thought to finally get this brooding aggravation off my chest)
Sitting through 30 seconds of non-stop hand flails and booty pops performed by a couple of nobodies is one thing; but dressing the same zeros up as our nation’s founding fathers?
Are we to assume these two greats would go nuts for 10% off a 7-piece dining room set or delayed financing?
I know we’ve reached a point where George and Abe’s essence have become public domain; and I’m all about advertising at the extreme but COME ON!
I don’t bleed red white and blue like some of my fellow patriots and still I’m offended.
It’s appropriating vital images from our nation’s founding for the sake of mind-numbing entertainment not even stimulating enough to engage a two year-old.
Its recall doesn’t move Value City into my furniture buying decision set.
It places it clearly out of bounds.
When it comes to attempting to secure recall via non-sequiturs, learn your boundaries. And just because your commercial is annoying doesn't mean it can't be effective - even aggravating memories can deliver new customers.
The tipping point between help- and harmful vary by industry, brand and demo.
How far can you take your creative? Be careful! :P