Changing the Conversation

By Mecca Adams (with David Ferraro)

Addicted To Golf - It was a bright spring afternoon when the sales rep came to production and asked if we could provide her client a little “wiggle room” on the production cost of a commercial for a proposal.


An article of faith in Cox Media production is that creative is the foundation of the advertising effort. If you don’t get that right, your advertising money may be wasted, or at least poorly spent.


During conversation we learned that the client proposed a reduction in his original proposed schedule and wanted more. Offering to spend less money generally does not increase your leverage.


The client also bought up the fact that a local broadcaster gave him FREE production. This is an objection we hear often. In our experience, most businesses can not afford the price of “free.” A business only gets one opportunity to make a good first impression. On my visit to present my ideas to the client, a production person from the local broadcaster was in the store shooting a commercial (awkward). One solitary production staffer, his camera and no lighting gear evident. And it wasn’t until after the commercial was produced the client learned it was only 15 seconds. We had no warning, but I presented my concepts anyway.


So what were the facts?

First fact is that creative has value. The care, attention and craftsmanship we provide clients distinguishes our work from that of others in the market. Plus, our production rates are already discounted for clients who purchase air schedules from us. Why would we want to discount it further?


Second is that advertising is an investment in one’s business. Business owners rightly work to limit expenses. Yet growing one’s revenues requires a marketing effort that is properly seen as an investment, and one that will pay off in multiples. The A.C. Nielsen company has determined that highly creative ad campaigns nearly double the sales impact of less creative campaigns.


Third is that creative has a strong impact on sales and is the single most important factor in the impact of advertising, accounting for over half the changes in a brand’s sales over time.


Fourth fact is that once a business has committed to an advertising campaign, it’s important to invest as necessary to develop the creative. An effective schedule coupled with poor-quality creative will negate that investment and endanger the success of the campaign. Good creative is a faithful representation of the company’s brand.


Armed with these points, Ginger Walton and I approached the client and explained the merits of our concept. We came to an agreement to produce a new spot for the client, Addicted to Golf.


The commercial was shot on the Kiln Creek golf course using one of the staff members well known in the Yorktown community. The client says everyone comes in and mentions the commercial and sales have increased.


Message of the story is…


Smart business owners attend to the quality of their creative as much as to the reach of their ad schedule. Trying to save money by skimping on creative can hurt your business’s image — and sales — in the long run. And good creative always starts with a better idea. See what you think.