Selling is Selling

And it’s always in the details…

It’s always interesting to see how big companies market their products.

Take this latest spot for Puma shoes, entitled: After Hours Athlete



First, notice that it’s a story, a story almost everyone can relate to; we can see ourselves in these frames, even if only in memory.

But what I love is their attention to detail.

The music has a hint of poignance. Considering the age of the participants, we might have expected something else, something more hip or more urban. But these aren’t angry rebels, are they?

The lighting also evokes an emotional response, with its hint of nostalgia and best friends.

How about the filtered mic, all that treble added to the gritty, smoky bass voice, the ambient sound throughout? That’s a great read too. An actor, not just a voice.

Did you notice what they didn’t say?

Not a word about shoes, much less their shoes. And wonderful, effective “dead space” around certain scenes, letting the images and the music put a script into your head.

The final shot shows the brand in a florescent sign for 2 seconds.

I think this spot is designed to reinforce brand identity with their super-core. It’s designed to be watched more than once. It’s designed to be consumed, and shared, online.

Even when radio companies budgeted for marketing, few stations used this style, the narrative written to show us a better image of ourselves, as we want to be, as we are in the images we carry of ourselves internally, while using the product.

The argument then always was that if we spent $100,000 to make the spot, we wouldn’t have any money left to run the spot. After all, a $500,000 marketing budget was a big deal in almost every market. It would be a bigger deal now.

My friend, Carolyn McClain, a brilliant, intuitive, disciplined marketing pro, could tell you that over her career the vast majority of clients, and potential clients, wanted the cheapest spot they could get. She never could change their minds, so she gave them what they wanted.

Today, everything is different.

Today, if you paid Carolyn a few hundred thousand dollars — your entire marketing budget — to produce something that would move your listeners emotionally, you could run it on your web site and YouTube.

The spots Carolyn could produce for you would almost certainly be so powerful your listeners would want to share them with their friends, and watch them again and again. Her best spots always have that effect.

Carolyn has the talent and skill to produce a spot just like that one you watched above. She always has. She just never found a radio client willing to spend the money.

Rather than spend a lot to broadcast the cheapest — at best, instantly forgettable — syndicated spot, why not pay for something that tells your story in so compelling a way that it becomes something your listeners want to watch, and share?

Is that hard to do?


But products more mundane than radio (read: shoes) find a way, so we can too.

If your company owns 20 AC stations, why not pool all their marketing budgets and spend a million dollars to produce something fabulous? Each individual station could have one customized shot, and every station could have a spot that would blow the socks off the market.

Why can’t this work?

Seriously, explain to me what’s wrong with this idea, or for God’s sake, if you work for CBS or Entercom or Bonneville, take it and run with it. Tell me when you get your masterpiece done, and I’ll help you spread the word.

BTW, in tomorrow’s post, I’ll tell you why weaving a narrative when selling potential listeners on your station is absolutely vital to your success with PPM, and reveal the science behind the story…