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Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007 at 11:56 am

Pushing vs. Flirting: When Repeat Repetition Doesn’t Sell

By Robert Gorell
October 18th, 2007

Ever get the feeling that your marketing sounds like a broken record? If so, do you ever get the feeling that your marketing sounds like a broken record?

If so, maybe there’s good reason for that. Maybe it does (sound like a broken record).

Your company’s website is always on. It’s always there, speaking on your behalf. And it can get old quickly. Sometimes, it’s best to play it cool. Be yourself. Don’t try to pick up every customer you meet. If you want to attract someone unique, define what it is that you’re not. But, whatever you do, don’t be pushy; it’s the ultimate turn-off. The rules of attraction aren’t much different if you’re selling soap or not-buying love.

The Hard Sell


[RSS readers, click here for video.]

When’s the last time you had a Kraft Caramel? Did you chew it, or did you just sort of gum it down? This commercial is kind of cute in retrospect, but it’s a prime example of why we should all be thankful that the mass market era is gone, gone, gone, gone, yeah. You don’t have to be Pavlov’s cat to know this won’t work today.

The No Value Proposition Hard Sell (Retro Edition)


[RSS readers, click here for video.]

Head On introduced itself to the public without saying anything but its name, over, and over, and over, and over, and… (Arrrrrggghhh!!! What were they thinking!!?? It’s like listening to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” performed by a choir of chainsaw-wielding parrots.) The only thing this commercial does to sell its product is actually give me the headache it implicitly claims to cure. And despite the fact that dissecting their marketing logic just gave me another headache, I still refuse to buy the stuff. This would’ve been a bad commercial in the 50′s. Today, there’s simply no excuse to disrupt the intrigue continuum.

Repetition as Humor


[RSS readers, click here for video.]

In the 80′s, brands were still tinkering around with tried-and-true mass marketing tactics. York does a good job here of using mind-numbing repetition to make you laugh at their own brand. York is fun. It’s a peppermint patty — what’s not to love? And it works. The melodrama of it all makes the ad ridiculous enough to stick; you shake your head and smile at the same time. Still, the begging for attention thing is a bit much. (Isn’t it annoying when cute people act this way? You’re cute. We get it. Enough, already.) For me, this ad evokes fond memories, not of the Alps, but of boring auto body shop waiting rooms and greasy glass counter tops next to diner cash registers; the usual places one falls in love with a York.

Want to be a marketing pick-up artist? Brand Autopsy has some tips on how to freshen up your online marketing game.

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Comments (5)

  1. Oh my God! those ads are really funny! I must disagree with you Robert about the head on ads though. I swear, sometimes commercials never phase me, but that one in particular caught my attention. It’s lame and annoying as heck, but I can never forget headon or activon! And I don’t need their product (thankfully) but I don’t think I would eliminate them as an option if need be. I agree hardselling stinks, but sometimes it works with certain people (not you I gues ;) . I don’t think the makers of that product would repeatedly broadcast that commercial if they weren’t getting a great reaction from it. But I’m sure glad that commercials are no longer one minute and 45 seconds long!

  2. In my business, automotive, the car dealers seem to respond to the marketing tactics to which they themselves adhere. Hard sell! Discounts! Best Price! Bug ‘em till they buy or decline!

  3. Just a build… The same thing occurs in marketing copy/creative all the time. How many different ways can you say the same call to action over and over. Your users will pick on this quickly and learn where NOT to click on your site.

  4. As I played the video’s one of my co-workers heard the Kraft commercial, then heard the head on commercial. She echoed you saying; “I hate that commercial” interestingly enough she also said “it usually comes on right after jeopardy. hmmm! she told me she would not purchase the product for two reasons a) scared of the product and b)the commercial.

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