Do-It-Yourself Marketing: What Works and What Doesn’t

In this age of localization, it is now possible to watch TV commercials on nationally famous shows that relate to your immediate area. These are affordably priced for the advertiser, but also serve the purpose of bolstering ad revenue for local networks that would otherwise be missed by advertisers only targeting a limited geography.

As a result of this phenomenon, some of the commercials we see are obviously self-produced, since paying a big-city ad agency on Madison Avenue is a bit of a stretch for small advertisers, especially in this economy. For that matter, these mom-and-pop advertisers perceive that paying any agency is too expensive.

However, these small businesses may not realize that their commercials may run in time slots where they are surrounded by slick ads from big-city agencies, making the amateurish nature of their presentations all the more interesting. exaggerated.

Ironically, however, television and radio commercials that often feature testimonials or dramatizations from the actual owners of the business, as well as their children, grandchildren, and sometimes their pets, tend to be quirky enough in a comedic way and entertaining than the ads. they are actually observable regardless of their lack of polish. The reason for this is that the people who shoot, record, mix and produce these spots are true professionals, technical artists behind the scenes, who ensure that the spot is a success, despite having homemade content.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for home print advertising. While TV and radio ads benefit from the excellent technical guidance of studio engineers, print ads that take place on the desk of someone with little or no composition experience, design sophistication, or technical understanding of where to run the ad, they usually fail miserably in a number of areas

First, design falls short, and message failure follows close behind. The resolution of the images and the readability of the text complete the mess, making the amateur do-it-yourself marketing attempt a complete waste of precious funds. And with print advertising, you have the added distraction of other visual competition on the page (unless you’ve bought the back cover of a magazine, for example, in which case if your ad lacks some form, it won’t). lose a second look.)

Many parameters must be considered when creating print advertising. The type of printing process, line screens, and type of media used greatly affect print contrast, color reproduction, and registration accuracy. Will the inverted type be swallowed by the heavy surrounding color if the wrong font weight is specified? Will font substitution occur when artwork is submitted to the publication’s art department if the fonts were not embedded or outlined, leading to copy-fitting issues? Were the images sent as RGB instead of CMYK, resulting in a faded or no color display? And if RGB conversions were done without knowledge of proper color balance, will portrait photos look too red, too yellow, or worse, too green?

Newspaper ads differ drastically from magazine ads in both resolution and readability. An error in one medium can become a catastrophe in another depending on the error. Combine these difficulties with the absence of professional hardware and advanced software along with professional experience and proven expertise, and you have the makings of a real dud every time. There is no safe haven when it comes to print advertising. And even when you have decades of experience to rely on, vagaries in the publication’s newsroom can derail even the most professional ad, let alone one produced by an amateur.

While print remains the ultimate testing ground, one of my clients produces his own TV commercials with remarkable success. An accomplished trial attorney by day, he has had years of improv experience both in the courtroom and in front of film crews as a television show host in our region. With a rare confluence of self-confidence and personal appeal, he exudes a sincere mix of affability and sympathy both on camera and off, a quality not commonly found in such a forceful individual before judge and jury! Clearly, he has a gift that has translated not only into an exemplary career, but also the ability to promote himself through radio and television. However, he acknowledges that his skills don’t carry over to print, which he admits he knows nothing about (along with websites and, until recently, computers!) and has kept me in the mix for over 20 years. years to keep you on the right track. .

Another case of television and radio advertising in our region cannot be described in such glowing terms. In fact, after the first exposure, I got goosebumps listening to the two voices deliver their youthful message in a singsong rendition, tediously irritating the sensitive, musically trained, pitch-perfect ears of this listener. Over the years, they opened more stores and added television to their self-marketing repertoire. A highly unlikely success story, they now enjoy widespread popularity despite, or indeed because of, their amateur marketing!

Another radio ad has been aired annually each summer featuring the same blatant mispronunciation of a common word by the store owner, showing his full-blown ignorance. Am I the only one hearing his mistake? No one mentions it to you… not even his wife?

It turns out that, with enough repetition, the radio ads that we’re embarrassed by, whether due to poor articulation, grammatical errors, artificial voice, or obvious lack of refinement of any sort, have become passable in their familiarity and chime.

However, it’s sad to admit that self-made print ads that are run over and over again in an attempt to reinforce with repetition continue to sabotage the advertiser after all this time.

There is a common thread within this story, regardless of whether the DIY ads were made for print, radio, or television. The advertisers who are featured, whether for their acting and voiceover talents, or their scripting, design and composition expertise (or lack thereof), are all convinced of their self-made success and continue to invest countless funds to run these ads to the delight of the stations and publications benefited. Blinded by their egos at the lack of income generated in response, they justify their efforts by how much they have saved in the creative process, making use of their natural talents, instinctive genius, and brilliant business acumen.

While we’re embarrassed by their foolish attempts at Hollywood stardom, we peruse their showrooms, buy their wares, and most ironically of all, remember their ads!…which just goes to show one thing: sometimes you are lucky and even bad marketing!

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