Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Something smart.

For years people have been announcing the death of print. And for years I've been saying that print can do things that no other medium can do. Print can let you touch things.

Just now my almost-18 year-old daughter picked up one of the approximately 150 LL Bean catalogues that are sent to us each year and said "Wow!" This is a jaded, New York 18-year-old who wouldn't be caught dead in something that comes from LL Bean. She said wow because there was a die-cut on the front cover through which you could feel the softness of Bean's fleece.

Right now Buick is running yet another multi-million-dollar advertising campaign. In this one they compare themselves to Lexus. Do they ever let you touch the car's upholstery? Do they embed a sound chip that allows you to hear the quiet at 60 mph? Can you feel the plushness of their carpet?

Why give people something to do? After all, they can just go visit a dealer--an experience most people regard just about as pleasant as Nazi dentistry. With rusty tools.

Buick are doing dumb.
Bean are doing smart.

My two cents say if your sales have dropped as Buick's have, don't try to do old advertising better. Try to do something different. Or, as Murray the Sturgeon King once said to me, "If all you ever do is all you've ever done, then all you'll ever get is all you've ever got."


Laura said...

Bean did something else that was smart and interactive- a few years ago they included sticky tabs with the the catalogue so you could mark the pages where there were items you'd want to purchase. Now lots of others do this as well - noticed it in Zagats so you can mark good restaurants.

Not sure you could put sticky tabs on a buick unless it was with a considerable discount.

Jake P. said...

Ah, but Geo, you're forgetting that Buick did something Very, Very Creative: They hired Tiger Woods as a celebrity endorser.

I love Tiger as a competitor, but he might be the most-incongruous pitchman I could imagine for a line of vehicles that generally oozes the word "stodgy." Does anyone *really* think one of the world's best and wealthiest athletes would be caught dead in a Buick Lucerne Super? Whatever they spent on that contract was too much.

Teenie said...

But Geo--print isn't sexy! How dull to win print awards! What a pedestrian way to work in advertising!

geo said...

Ya, Jake P,

I have written about Buick and Tiger in previous posts. It makes about as much sense as "Mets Citi Field." ie I want my mortgage from the bank that sponsors my local third-rate Venezuelan short stop. Not likely.

Lauren said...

That's a great idea - especially, as you pointed out, that the process of experiencing a car (going to a dealership) is hellish. Bring consumers the experience in a much friendlier, time-effective manner.

Great stuff. You write a lot on GM but keep your ideas secret - wish you'd let on a bit more!