Why Nobody Cares About Your Ads
Do you remember that advert from your local Fire Service? You know, the ad that said, “If your house is on fire, call us. We’ll bring water and ladders and stuff.”
No? Neither do I, because they’ve never needed to make that ad.
We know what the Fire Service do because we’ve thought about it. Occasionally you’ll wonder “How would I react if I woke up and there was a fire?”
You’ll probably dial 999. We aren’t keen on dying and we want to protect the house. After all, that’s where all our stuff is: wallet, passport, kids, goldfish, work stuff. Our biscuits are in there, for god’s sake!
Everything we own and love is in that house – it’s our whole life. So fires and firefighters have a special significance in people’s lives. Your business doesn’t, so people don’t care.
They don’t care what your market share is. They don’t care how “customer-focused” you are. If it doesn’t involve them, they just don’t care.
That sounds negative but it’s actually an important lesson to learn. Accept that nobody cares and you can start planning a solution.
Your target consumer (or whatever else you call him) has a busy life to think about. He or she has bills to pay, feral children to tame, a job to hate, chores to ignore and a football team to worry about.
His world is a million miles from yours. He’ll be thinking about something else as he flicks past your expensive full-page ad or barely glances at your 48 sheet billboard.
So your ad has a split-second to grab his attention and change the way he thinks about his life. Find that elusive meeting point between his stressful day and your product.
Dozens of advertising mantras allude to this. Stuff like “Say one thing and one thing only”, “KISS: Keep it simple, stupid” or “Sell benefits, not features”.
These ideas work when they’re used properly. And they work because they acknowledge that you have a nanosecond to break through your customer’s congested consciousness and make him realise how much easier you can make his life.
Set fire to his cat
Making people care about your business or product is hard, but it’s possible – copywriters do it every day. You need to find out what your customer loves, what he hates, what he worries about and what makes him happy.
Then use that wisdom to grab him by the throat. Metaphorically speaking, set fire to his cat. Then and only then, tell him about your flame-retardant cat spray.