We are living in extraordinary times. Since 911, I can’t recall a time where so many commercials had the same basic message. “We care about you. We’re here for you.” If you’re like me, at first, that was a very meaningful message. I wanted to know what these particular businesses were doing during Coronavirus – what were their policies? How could buying their product/services be useful to me right now, while I’m stuck at home worrying about my business and my kids’ schools? But then. Then every single commercial had the same sappy music, the same platitudes, the same look. I began to grow so weary of every commercial break. I get it. You care. I should stay home (but still spend money with you).
So what can you do? To have ignored the pandemic would seem massively out of touch. The commercials I see that preach social distancing but use old footage of crowds freely mingling pre-covid aren’t it either. How can you still reach your audience without looking like one more in a line of false concern? (This “commercial” sums up the falseness perfectly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWuijOkDD5k)
To me, the key is honesty. Figure out how you actually can help me. Sure, acknowledge these are difficult times, but get to it quickly. How are you going to save me money? Why is now the time to buy? What are you going to do differently to motivate me to make a purchase when I’m not sure about my own livelihood or that of my spouse? I’ve never experienced such an uncertain time. 911 was horrible and terrifying, but after the first week or two, life began to resume. While it is slowly doing so now, we still have no idea what the next 6-12 months will look like. Humans don’t do well with uncertainty. It is not how we are wired.
So what have we as an agency done differently or better? We are fortunate to have many amazing automotive clients here at Miller. And we have focused more than ever the last 2 months not on selling them something, but HELPING them. Making sure that every single penny is put to its best use. Doing more with less budget. Finding ways and messages to reach consumers and sell cars, even in these crazy times. Make sure your ads, no matter your vertical, are doing the same. Be a resource. Be a help. Be a partner. Then even if you don’t get the sale now, you will reap the benefits in the days and months to come. And you’ll just feel better about what you are doing as well.