Advertising only accelerates the inevitable.
Good advertising will make a good business more successful more quickly and more efficiently.
Good advertising will make a bad business go out of business faster.
If you’re in between – languishing in the Pit of Mediocrity – you’ll try advertising and it won’t work very well (if at all, depending on a few factors) – at least, not nearly as well as it could.
Here’s a billboard for a convenience store I see every time I go to St. Louis that drives me bugnuts crazy:
As you can see in the close-up, it’s meant to look like either a twitter or Facebook status update. It reads:
Fastlane: For Fuel, Food & Fun!!
Why does it bother me so much?
Because it’s false advertising.
I’ve been a couple times to investigate.
It’s not fun.
I mean, at all. I know that may come as a shock.
It’s got gas and beer and Funyuns and Combos and all that.
Just no fun.
But I’m not arguing they should change the billboard to match the experience.
Imagine if they changed the experience to match the billboard.
Have you ever … ever … walked out of a convenience store thinking, “Oh man, that was awesome!”
I see an opportunity. How about you?
What if this convenience store spend six months visiting amusement parks, carnivals, Vegas, Branson and a few other places that sell fun for a living? What if they took notes and figured out ways to provide a head-shakingly fun experience at a convenience store?
- Free whoopee cushion with every full tank of … wait for it … GAS?
- Spin the wheel of canned cheese?
- A dunk tank filled with Red Bull?
Who can make these things happen?
Suddenly, you’ve got a c-store everyone’s telling their friends about. Suddenly, you’ve got people lining up to not only fill up their tank but come inside for your high margin snacks and joy buzzers and stuff.
Suddenly my kids are begging to stop at FastLane in Warrenton on the way to Grandmom and Granddad’s house. And my wife is telling her mom friends. And some goober’s on the web blogging about their relentless capacity for fun.
Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.
Because you’re a convenience store.
And our experience at convenience stores across America* is drowning in mediocrity.
Advertising messages fail for two reasons:
- Companies don’t speak to consumers about things consumers care about in a language consumers understand.
- Companies don’t live up to the promises they make in their advertising.
FastLane passes number one with flying colors. We all need fuel, food and fun.
They fail miserably at number two.
The easy road is to change the ad.
The company on the road less traveled changes the company.
And that will make all the difference.
(If you cannot see the embedded double-secret hidden camera spy video, click here to visit the site and watch.)
* I specifically said ‘across America’ because if you’re ever in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s eastern seaboard, you can visit Milne Court. Try the cookies.