Careful Retailers: Messages Matter

A friend of mine was painting his daughter’s room one afternoon and listening to the radio.  Radio is still a viable and very affordable advertising medium for many retailers. A commercial came on for National Camera.  Not a bad commercial – but, boy, did they misunderstand the media buy and the target market!!

The ad was on KQRS here in town – Classic rock.  Right now the landing page is filled with a promotion for Van Halen.  Got the picture?

So this National Camera commercial starts bashing “the big box stores” that aren’t really focused on cameras and photography equipment.  With very little camouflage they seem to be going after Best Buy.  In fact, they describe it as having a huge selection of Def Leppard CDs and being a viable store only if you are reverting to  a 13 year old. OK – kind of funny.  I guess.  Except even as we heard it it struck us that there probably isn’t a 13 year old around who knows who Def Lepard is.  So, we wondered if the intent was to insult the generation that would know Def Lep and shop in a big box store?

Oh well,  continuing with the painting and about 15 minutes later they played a listener requested song:  …. by Def Leppard!

It struck me then that National Camera unintentionally insulted the listeners, not their competition. Interestingly, its our empty nest generation that is financially in a position to shop at National Camera.  We are their preferred demographic.  I personally wasn’t insulted, but to be honest I cringed when I heard the commercial and I laughed out loud when they played the call of someone requesting “something from Def Leppard.”

So the moral is look at the big picture if you’re going to use negative advertising because you may be insulting your market instead of your competition. The message has to match the location.  In and outside of the store.  Just as my earlier post talked about matching marketing messages with the right in-store location, advertising messages need to be matched to their medium.  A funny ad that sideways bashes 1980’s metal bands should probably remember how it will sound coming out of a station that plays Classic Rock.  Or they could find they’re Bringing on the Heartbreak.

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