An April Fool's Prank - or the Truth About Advertising for Local Businesses?
Why Affordable, Effective Advertising is No Joke
April 1st…. otherwise known as April Fool’s Day. I swear the internet was made for April Fool’s Day – every year I look forward the brilliant creativity brought forth by individuals and big brands alike. I’ll share a few of my favorites later (with links that I assure you will give you a good laugh and potentially inspire a few pranks to pull yourself) but first, a personal story of when I thought I was part of an advertising April Fool’s joke.
About eight years ago, when I first started in the world of media (specifically Cable TV advertising with Cox Media), I had no clue as to what the cost of a TV ad was. In fact, like the hundreds of people I’ve tested the “What do you think the cost of a cable tv ad is?” question, I believed the cost to advertise on TV had to be comparable to a Super Bowl ad. I still feel foolish about my former obliviousness, especially since for about seven years I helped run a small business that ranged from a handful of employees to over 300. Maybe I’d have thousands today if I didn’t make assumptions back then… where’s the time-traveling DeLorean when you need it? The good news is, you won’t need a DeLorean – read on!
It was April of 2011, right at the beginning of baseball season – trust me, the folks in the Cable TV advertising business were, and still are, very proud that nobody can hold a candle to helping businesses align their brand with the power of live sports, so we’re always thinking of where you are in relation to sport seasons. So, there I am, brand new to the world of media, drinking from the company info firehose and learning about the business. Then, on an ad invoice I see the price of a single 30-second commercial in one small zone in Rhode Island during a Red Sox game priced within the $60 range. I instantly thought, “There must be some fine print I’m not seeing…” followed by, “There’s a hidden camera and someone is playing a joke on me – albeit a week or two late for April Fools Day.”
I was wrong on both accounts. That was the actual cost. And from that moment, I’ve had this vision of creating my own 30-second commercial where it’s just me on TV ranting about New England Patriots football during one of those Red Sox games…(By the way, you can find this lowly Jets fan on Twitter at @dglix if that either enraged you or made you think, “Yes, let’s do this!” – it would be so worth the $60).
But I digress, the point is – the real price of a Cable TV commercial is no April Fool’s joke. If you assume anything as I did, or you only checked with the broadcast affiliates – you may be missing out. So, check with your local cable Company’s advertising division (like Cox Media). Also ask about audio advertising, mobile phone advertising, online advertising, targeting tv cord cutters, creating that perfect video for your homepage, you name it – if you assume that they are a one trick Cable advertising pony, then the April Fool’s joke may be on you.
And as promised, below are some of my recent favorite April Fool’s links relating to well-known brands – please enjoy:
- On second thought Subway, I think I’ll skip dessert today.
- Staying on the food thing… uhm, yuck BK!
- Lexus and 23AndMe team up to genetically choose your next ride.
- An old friend of mine did this one… and it went viral. As does many of his other creations. (Editors note: I do prefer the Oreo half with the crème filling).
- Amazon Echo… now with Petlexa!
- When you wish your coffee & creamer were flavored more alike...
- I’m writing this just days after getting off a Royal Caribbean cruise so this one is appropriate.
- This reminds me of every bare-footed step on a lego… but is brilliant… and I’m willing to contribute if there is a crowd source campaign to make this real.
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