Marketing Genius from Maple Creative


Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Great Ads #1 - Mack's Earplugs

This is the first in a series of "Great Ads" that we'll be bringing to you periodically. Advertising is but one aspect of marketing. But it is one of the more visual forms of marketing. By examining and studying great ads, we think that we can all learn more about marketing ... adding to the collective marketing genius!

The ad from Mack's shown above appeared in Newsweek, May 30, 2005 edition. Is it promoting ear plugs ... or peace of mind? The ad presents the promise of a restful night's sleep for the spouse of someone who snores. Prior to encountering this print ad in a magazine, I had never seen or heard of Mack's earplugs, despite the fact that the product has been around since 1962.

What's great about this ad? Several things.

First, there is the image. It is unique, cute and playful. I hope that all of you can relate to a snuggly cuddle in a warm, cozy bed. Doesn't that down comforter look inviting! The black & white photo makes the whole concept more abstract ... less specific, so that each of us can adapt it to fit our own life situation more readily. (Plus - feet probably look better in a fuzzy B&W photo than in sharp color.)

The headline is hard to miss. It is a quotation, a testimonial from a man in Annapolis, Maryland. "You saved my marriage," that is a pretty powerful headline. In the Rosser Reeves vernacular, the unique selling proposition (or USP) of this product is a happier marriage.

Cover up the thumbnail sized photo of the product package. Now, look at the ad again. It's hard to tell what the Mack's product is, minus the product shot. That one element is a nice addition to the ad.

I really like the line in the footer of the ad: "Saving snore ravaged relationships since 1962." Makes me smile. That connected with me.

The whole ad is folksy and inviting - in a very clever way.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi - I was searching for this ad when I found your blog/site. I actually just finished writing a three page paper for my social psychology class on this ad, and I thought you might be interested. You can email me if you want to chat more about it, but put something obvious in the subject line (like "social psych ad"): Here's what I wrote:

Analysis of an Ad

1. Briefly describe the ad.
This is a still ad for Mack’s Pillow Soft Earplugs. The ad features a black and white picture of two pairs of cuddling feet sticking out from under the covers of a bed. There is a customer testimonial at the top of the picture that reads “Thanks Mack’s. You saved my marriage. – James Jeffery, Annapolis MD.” The text at the bottom of the ad reads “Saving snore ravaged relationships since 1962. Insist on the Original, #1 Selling Mack’s.”
2. Did the ad mostly influence your emotion or your reasoning? In what way?
The advertisement mostly influenced my emotion, probably because I have personal experience with both snoring and ravaged relationships. The picture of the feet cuddling under the blanket flooded my brain with thoughts and memories of lying happily in bed with a partner. It also gave me a feeling of hope and happiness because the ad seemed to offer such a quick and perfect fix to the problem that was “ravaging” the relationship. The ad was even comforting in a way because it made me feel as though someone out there really cared about fixing my relationship and making me happy.
3. Comment on the communicator.
The communicator of this ad keeps it simple by giving a short testimonial, and by adding “Saving snore ravaged relationships since 1962. Insist on the Original, #1 Selling Mack’s.” I think that keeping the message short and simple is important and effective with this print ad because the message of the ad itself is a very simple one that does not need a lot of explanation – if your relationship is being negatively affected by snoring, use our earplugs! Too many words on the ad might make the consumer do too much thinking and not enough feeling. The communicator is also very effective in getting a lot of information across in two short sentences. “Saving snore ravaged relationships since 1962. Insist on the Original, #1 Selling Mack’s” - these two sentences alone tell us that their product can help save your relationship, that their company has been around for almost fifty years, that we should insist that our local drug store stock this product, that this particular type of earplugs is the brand’s number one seller, and because they refer to it as the “#1 Selling Mack’s” we are left to assume that Mack’s has other products for sale as well.
4. Comment on the message.
The message of the ad is exaggerated and far fetched. Anyone who believes that earplugs can save a relationship or that snoring alone can ravage a relationship is doomed to begin with. On the other hand, snoring does present a big problem to lots of couples, and this ad is effective in offering a simple solution. And, because snoring is a problem that affects men and women, the ad is also effective in staying neutral with regard to gender. Also, the phrase “ravaged relationships” might scare an otherwise confident partner into thinking that his or her snoring problem will ultimately destroy his or her relationship unless they buy these earplugs.
5. Who is the intended audience?
The intended audience for this ad is anyone who is bothered by snoring. It could be for both the spouse of the snorer or for the snorer himself.

6. Based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, what need or needs are addressed by the product?
Two needs from Maslow’s hierarchy are addressed by this ad. For the person who has the snoring problem, this product provides acceptance (social need) by claiming that you will not be alone in life because of your snoring as long as you buy this product. And, for the person who is bothered by their snoring spouse, this product provides sleep (physiological need) because it mutes the sound of the snoring.
7. How is classical and/or operant conditioning (in the sense of promised, maybe not actual, rewards) used?
The picture of the feet cuddling in bed uses classical conditioning by exposing the consumer to a pleasant, comforting and relaxing image. Consumers that get those feelings from the image are likely to have a positive attitude towards the product being sold. Also, the testimonial “Thanks Mack’s, you saved my marriage” is an example of operant conditioning in that the reward being offered is a saved marriage. Someone who is having marriage problems might be especially likely to try and like this product because it gives the impression that by using the product your marriage will be saved – and the customer testimonial gives us even more reason to believe that the product will work!
8. Do you think the ad is effective? Why or why not?
I think this ad is effective because it says so much with so few words. It contains a short and dramatic customer testimonial, it has a picture of the product itself, the background for the entire ad is a warm and cozy picture that provokes positive and calming imagery, and the brief description from the communicator gives us what all Americans want – a quick and easy fix to our problems.

6:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

post a link! blogging is sooo 2003.

3:08 AM


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