December 20, 2008

In the last couple of weeks I’ve spoken to two different web companies who are considering a TV advertising campaign.

Maybe I’m just tainted by the specific companies I’ve worked with, but I find that to be a frustrating and disappointing approach to marketing, and one which I expect to fail.

Here is the question:

Can anybody give me any example of a web-based business that has achieved long-term benefits from a TV advertising campaign?

Temporary spikes in traffic don’t count, as the evidence suggests that this quickly reverses once the ads stop.

There are lots of companies who have tried over a long period of time now.

I’m open to the possibility. But, all of the companies that I can think of who have burnt cash on TV ads don’t seem to have much to show for it.

Remember the 2000 Superbowl ads like the ad above? Yes, they were creative and in some cases funny, but did they achieve anything apart from exposing the people who foolishly paid millions of dollars and then watched it go up in smoke in 30 seconds?

The most obvious example in NZ is Ferrit – we’ve been bombarded with their terrible ads for the last couple of years, and where has it got them?

To quote Ian Morris (yes, that’s right, Tex Pistol!), who has an entire web site devoted to stupid ads:

I have no idea who these ads are aimed at. Certainly can’t be me, or my children, or any of my friends, colleagues, acquaintances, relatives, football team members, or any of their children, or their pets. I have yet to find anyone who finds these ads – and Mr Stupid Pants and Tank-top – anything other than awfully, cloyingly annoying.

On the other hand, there are lots of companies who have taken a more organic approach to growth, who seem much better off for it – for example, Lance posted about Torpedo7 last week.

So, please, don’t waste your money on TV ads that probably won’t work.

Invest in a website that people love to use, and make sure you give people a reason to keep coming back.

Get those things right and you’ll be able to afford TV ads, but won’t need them!