Cartoon and Illustration

How Advertising works (a case history)

You may expect I’m going to write some snarky comment here about how I hate advertising.  Not at all.  This is not to say that I don’t hate SOME advertising.  Probably about as much as anyone else–but then again, maybe not, since my degree is in Advertising Design.  Not my point.

My point is that I’ve been listening to music on Spotify lately.  Which is pretty nice except for the advertising.  For the past several weeks I’ve been listening to a commercial break for Advance Auto Parts telling how they’ll “INSTALL YOUR BATTERY–FOR FREE!” (The announcer actually practically screams that “FOR FREE!” part.  So annoying, yes?

But then a week or so ago my car was acting up.  It was starting kind of slow.  The kind of slow start up that would not be unusual if it were mid-winter and below zero.  That thing that tells you that your battery might be a little too cold to crank.  The problem?  It’s June in North Carolina!  80 degrees, plus.  Not the sort of weather that normally affects a battery, right?

Well, I’ve been busy, but every time that ad ran on Spotify I’d think, “Maybe I should have my battery checked.”  But didn’t do it.

Then I went to Heroes Convention in Charlotte and along the way I kept smelling something like an egg salad going bad.  Well, sometimes Charlotte can have funky smells, so I paid it no mind.

On the way home, though I stopped off at a gas station to fill up the tank, and thought to check the oil.  I opened the hood and realized that there was something amiss.  A big wet spot above and behind the battery and the smell of acid!  On closer examination I realized the battery was not well–a pool of acid on the platform where the battery rests, and an odd misshapen look to the battery case itself.

This was around 5 pm on Monday afternoon and my wife was going to take the car to Ohio the next day.

“Guess I’m going to Advance Auto Parts,” went through my head.

That’s how advertising works.  I knew just where the Advance Auto Parts place is in my home town, so if I didn’t see one on the way home I’d just pull in there.  Which is what I ended up doing.

The guy was able to set me up with a battery and install it in about a half an hour.  Sure, I could have taken the car to the mechanic.  I’d have preferred to do that, but there’s no way it would have gotten done in time to get my wife on the road the next morning.

So, here’s the lesson.  Have a product people need, sell it for a reasonable price.  Offer to help installing said product.  Even if your advertising is obnoxious you’re likely to sell product.

Now, as for the guy who keeps telling me to get help for gambling addiction–not an issue with me.  Funny how the next commercial is for Vegas, though.



One thought on “How Advertising works (a case history)

  1. At least Advance realised they need to build up an impression in the audience’s mind. Affordable, easy, quick were their messages. Great for commodity products offered in many outlets. Now, subtle vs. direct vs. obnoxious is a discussion between the agency and the client. Too bad they couldn’t realise a steady message with a reasonable delivery is the kind of build they want, because you might have considered bringing them your regular business as well as your emergency.

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