Should you be DOING TV?

Over the last eight years, I have sold commercials to pizza companies around the world and I always advise my clients "less is more" when it comes to tailoring their ads.

Your first priority is to feature your company's name. If that were all you put in the commercial, it would be effective. Next, display your logo, if you have one. Then, promote a featured special (something short and simple, your audience is not taking notes). Last, but not least, show your telephone number (they can't call you if they don't have the number).

When you want to put your phone numbers, address and most of the menu into a commercial, STOP! Try to remember one number you know because you saw it on television. Less is definitely more. If they know you are there, when they want pizza, they will find you.

Now, let's take a closer look at the good, the bad and the ugly of pizza ads. Imagine watching television, ESPN, CNN, MTV, Discovery, etc., and you are really into your favorite show. Maybe it's a college championship football or basketball game, a documentary about an exploding volcano, or even Alley McBeal. Time for a commercial break. Up pops a storefront. The narrator talks too fast and the images are all shots of the outside and inside of the store.

In the first five seconds, you and every other person watching this channel get up and do other things during the break. It is as if the advertiser had presented a play, only to have the entire audience walk out.
With this annoying ad, he may have done more damage to his company's image than any possible good. Most of the local ads are just like that. They give the audience the excuse to do something, anything, except watch. How do you break this trend? Air a good ad.

We all watch television to be entertained. The big advertisers understand this and they spend thousands and thousands of dollars to keep us watching. Often, you barely see their product in the ad, but it is there and you see it. Your half-second decision to choose their product over another at the store means that their ad succeeded.

Your ad can succeed in the same way. When someone decides they'd like pizza, they might very well remember your crazy ad on TV as they look through the pizza places in the yellow pages, making you stand out in their mind. Television is a powerful way to influence thousands of those quick decisions between your company and the competition.

So, what sells products? Sex sells, comedy sells, extreme sells and drama sells. They sell, because they draw the attention of the consumer long enough to remind them a product exists.

In all likelihood, the ad may not have anything to do with the product. Still, the message gets out "We're Here!" Sometimes, that is all it takes to win a call.

The moment your ad airs is also critical. Your audience is huge and so is the potential to promote your products. A well done cable advertisement will reach 95 percent more viewers each time it plays because the viewers are interested enough to watch.