Al Bundy is a fictional character on the television show Married with Children. Al is the consumate loser who sells women’s shoes in the mall and whose string of failures provided enough fodder to spawn over 250 episodes of the show.
In one episode, after fielding yet another call from a disgruntled shoe customer, Al decides to put his knowledge of shoes to work by setting up a “shoe hotline”. Below is the commercial Al ran to promote his shoe hotline:
The television ad is hilarious in its ineffectiveness. From the incredibly poor production to the ridiculousness of the business venture to the dispair of Al’s unlucky banker – it’s a comedy classic.
One of the key mistakes Al makes in his ad is basing it on what Al likes. There’s an old saying in advertising which goes, “I like to eat steak, but when I fish I use worms because that’s what fish like to eat.”
Al likes beautiful women – and features one in his ad. That’s HIS fantasy – of talking to the beautiful blond sitting on her bed. However, Al does say that he’ll accept calls from “fat and unattractive women” as well.
Al created a commercial based on what HE liked instead of basing his marketing message based on what his CUSTOMERS might like.
While it’s the epitome of “bad advertising” it probably strikes a chord with you because you’ve probably seen similarly bad commercials on your local station. While Al’s ad is extreme – but you should be wondering whether the ads you’ve been running are making the same mistake.
Are the ads you’re running – no matter WHERE you’re running them – making the same mistake Al made?
Imagine the response had Al reversed the characters in his ad. What if “Muffy” (his secret marketing weapon employed incorrectly in the ad) were portrayed to be the one answering the phone instead of calling? The skit would have been INFINITELY less funny when the bank of phones Al had installed on his dining room table began to ring off the hook – which is exactly what would have happened if Al had been thinking about the kind of toll line he would call when he created the business.
See how keeping the TAP (target audience profile) in mind when creating a small business advertising campaign can change the flavor of the advertising campaign?
Change the target audience profile to the audience Al THOUGHT he was targeting with his poorly planned and produced television ad – middle aged women – and the ad has to change significantly to be effective.
Al Bundy shows us that the secret to creating successful marketing strategies is knowing the REAL reasons people buy. Because he didn’t, his business ended in abject failure – in keeping with the theme of the show.
I don’t know of ANYONE who wants to be an “Al Bundy” in their business. Business success starts with keeping your target audience profile in mind before you begin writing the script for the television ad. If you need help developing a target audience profile for your small business, pick up a copy of Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results
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