The commercials that ran during the last 30-plus season of “Saturday Night Live” might be for fictional products, but they could easily be confused for real ones if their products didn’t feature items that would produce strange looks from cashiers or third-degree burns in sensitive areas.
Some of the most famous “fake ads” that have run for years on the long-running sketch comedy show would actually make very effective examples of potent and pro-active advertising to anyone pursuing a marketing degree.
Anyone who is in the marketing game or pursuing a marketing degree can tell you that one of the hardest products to market are toys. Not only does the brand have to be something that children will immediately recognize to peak their initial interest, but it also has to maintain their attention by doing something that no other toy in their toy box can do like fly, walk across water or annoy the living hell out of their parents (most of them do the latter already).
This classic “SNL” commercial can’t fly or run across water like a Basilisk lizard but it can mess up a house faster than Mickey Rourke on a coke bender. This toy centered around a long lost Norse viking god spins around and shoots sticky red “goop” out of its horns and even though the parents in this commercial find it amusing, real parents would be driven into an insane asylum for realizing how dumb they were to buy something that they’re kids are begging for after their afternoon cartoons.
New Shimmer Non-Dairy Floor Wax
The most essential element of any story is conflict and even though the most effective commercial can last no longer than 30 seconds, some of the best commercials utilize this important storytelling tool.
Products with multiple purposes are often easy sells because they are a sure-fire way of saving the buyer some money if they are presented the right way in its marketing campaign. This ad for New Shimmer is short, clever and to the point. The couple in this commercial seem to have a problem determining exactly what the product does, but the conflict is magically resolved by the product’s pitchman who cleverly showcases what makes it special and most sellable to the consumer, mainly that it perks up boring desserts and makes kitchen floors so shiny, you can watch yourself enjoying it.
The best advice any writer can get when it comes to their work, whether they are putting together a script for a big budget film or chasing their marketing degree, is to “show, not tell”.
This “SNL” ad uses that mantra to its fullest effect. It doesn’t just tell the audience that their product is superior to every other product of its kind on the market. It shows them just how much better it is and how much bang the consumer can get for their proverbial buck using simple math and ratios. Granted, the results are probably so extreme that NASA scientists had to be called in to do the math, but the result is quite memorable and it burns an image in their mind for the next time they walk down the cereal aisle in their neighborhood grocery store.
Dissing Your Dog
Of course, the “show, don’t tell” approach doesn’t just apply to theoretical or non-tangible aspects of a marketing campaign’s product. Sometimes the best way to let consumers know how effective your product can be is to show it in action.
The methods for this series of dog training videos provides another excellent example of showing instead of telling by not only providing a great presentation of the product’s execution and effects, but it also puts its initial genesis in the proper context by explaining how the manufacturer stumbled onto it. Of course, this commercial practically writes itself since letting Will Ferrell verbally berate household pets is eye-catching and hilarious in any context.
Beer commercials usually try to titillate the most basic of the male’s senses with bikini-clad models pawing all over some squirmy geek, just because he’s drinking the product. This one, however, aims to strive for something much nobler, besides trying to sell as much beer as possible.
This beer commercial tries to show how it’s product can not only install a sense of confidence and courage in those who enjoy in its refreshing crispness, but it can also extinguish high tensions and conflicts between sworn enemies simply by sharing a brew with them. Every guy in the world is looking for something that will not only help them punch their most hated enemy in the face and then magically resolve the conflict and beer presents a natural cause and resolution for both, only with a lot less blood and missing teeth.