And now, the visuals….

0805dp_01_z2005_dodge_ram_2500_turbofront_rightThe other day we discussed how the Paul Harvey monologue on the American farmer worked so well with the 2013 Superbowl Dodge Ram truck ad. Today we are going to talk about how the visuals worked as well.

My students and clients know that I talk about something called “product as prop.” Essentially what this means is that whenever you are selling something which might be seen as somewhat generic (e.g., a truck in this example), you need to attach your product to something more meaningful to consumers. Because trucks aren’t necessarily that exciting to many people, and many truck features are rather generic and table-stakes (e.g., cargo capacity, four-wheel drive, etc.) you probably are wasting your time (and money) just talking about product features!

Not only does talking about product features bore most people, but chances are real good that most people who hear your product-feature laden ad will (a) not remember it and (b) most likely confuse you with your competition anyway.

So what’s a savvy marketer to do?  Well, Dodge offered us a good example of how you could go about it.  You see, the images (combined with the audio) helped create a very powerful emotional connection with viewers.  By tapping into this imagery, the commercial appeals to us in a symbolic manner (after all, we all think visually anyway).  Everyone is familiar with farmers, even though most of us are not farmers.  However the imagery and audio of the ad extolled the virtues of farmers that everyone can relate to.  Who doesn’t want to be seen as hard-working and all about tradition, etc.

So, what Dodge did successfully with this commercial was to create a powerful and symbolic picture in our minds of virtues that many of us would like to possess.  We don’t have to be farmers to desire these virtues.  Now that our emotional state is ramped up, they place their product into the mix showing us how this product (i.e., their truck) is a prop to the story they just spun.

Anyone who feels similar yearnings to this story will then attach the prop to the story, causing a much deeper emotional connection rather than just talking about product features.  So, if you haven’t already, go ahead and review the commercial and see if you can find what I’m talking about.  And if you’re in business, go ahead and see if you can attach whatever you sell to a bigger story as well!  It might be all that you need to break through the clutter and not just be seen as a bunch of product features (or words on a resume for my students out there!!).

Next time we will be discussing the number one commercial of the Superbowl and why that one rose to the top!!   And, as always, please feel free to share your thoughts and comments with me.

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