By: Jim Madsen
Hey, I just met you,
And this is crazy,
But here’s my number,
So call me, maybe?
Call Me Maybe was the song of Summer 2012. But Carly Rae Jepsen’s catchy little earworm contained a truth that everyone should heed. If you want someone to call you, they’ll need your number.
So how does a no-brainer like this get lost in the world of advertising?
Because agencies and advertisers don’t realize their brand-building commercials have morphed into direct-response ones. Somehow, a Web site address or 800 number snuck in, and this changes everything. Oh, they still retain all the branding elements -- the ads position products and services strategically and with impact. They possess great production values and don’t look like traditional two-minute direct-response spots.
But these commercials have become all flirtation, with no follow-through. They want viewers to respond, but they don’t provide sufficient motivation or information for them to do so.
No matter how sexy a spot looks, how cleverly it’s written, how accurately it’s targeted, or even how much social media it uses, it won’t make the register ring repeatedly without doing what Carly does: making it easy to call or click. These days, advertisers want their ads to be accountable -- even their brand-building commercials -- and so customers need a phone number, a link, a point of sale. But once a commercial tries to evoke a response with an 800 number or URL or even a retailer location, it has crossed the line from general to direct-response advertising.
Direct-response leverages brand, strategy, creative and media. But it doesn’t leave its audience hanging. It takes their hand and invites them to the next step forward, toward making an actual purchase.
Branding is great -- and if branding is the sole purpose of the ad, then forget about Carly’s message. But if any type of response is requested, then think about that message long and hard.
The next time you see a commercial, ask yourself two questions:
Do I know exactly where or how I can buy this product? Do I care enough to call or click?
Don’t get me wrong. Having a great product with smart advertising will definitely get you noticed. But until you’re as well-known as Apple, Pepsi, or Carly Rae Jepsen, the register won’t ring as much as it should until you follow through with those magic words: …here’s my number, so call me, maybe?
Jim Madsen is a copywriter at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America's largest DRTV agencies.
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