First, a cork-popping congratulations to the Broncos, and condolences to all the Panthers fans. Now comes the Monday-morning quarterbacking and all the after-game analyses, almost as much fun as following this year’s election season!
But personally, I think the big winner in the game was Kia Motors, whose “Walken Closet” commercial was one of the truly great moments in Super Bowl advertising. Feel free to click here to watch the spot and then come right back for the play-by-play.
For a commercial – or any advertising, for that matter – to be effective, it has to accomplish several critical feats: It has to break through and attract attention, it has to be clear in its fundamental selling message, the message has to be compelling, and it has to be memorable when you walk away from it.
I’ve argued for years that most Super Bowl commercials only accomplish the first and last requirements. You watch and enjoy them, you may laugh at their gags and you talk about them after the game. But on the selling-side, most hardly make it past the scrimmage line. They don’t leave you wanting to know more about the product or even “get” the product’s unique selling proposition (USP), the thing that makes the product unique among its competitors. That surely can’t be said of the Kia spot.
First off, who can’t be drawn into Christopher Walken’s creepily intense performance no matter what he does? And the gag about the “Walken closet” is hilarious. But when Walken metaphorically compares most mid-sized sedans to uninspired beige socks and the Optima to the “world’s most exciting pair of socks,” in a way only he can deliver, he absolutely nails the Optima’s unique selling proposition: a car with “pizzazzzzz” in a world of otherwise boring mid-sized competitors. If you’re thinking about buying a mid-size after watching this commercial, you’re compelled to at least check out the Optima. (After all, who wants to be boring and beige?)
This lesson shouldn’t be lost on funeral service advertisers, who are already on an uphill battle considering their subject matter. Are your ads beige or do they have pizzazz, capturing the audience’s attention amid the clutter? Do your ads and other marketing speak to why your business alone serves their interest in a way others’ don’t? Is your content interesting enough that it deserves a second viewing? You don’t need to spend millions of dollars to have a celebrity speaking for you. You just need to not settle for marketing that’s mediocre and expected.
In a world of “beige” mid-size sedans, there’s the Kia Optima. In your competitive world where there’s so much sameness, where do you stand? C’mon, punch it!
Dan Katz is president, creative director of LA ads. To discuss your thoughts with Dan on this blog or any marketing matters, email via this link, or visit www.LAadsMarketing.com. You can also connect with Dan on LinkedIn. See agency work via this link.