If you live in the St. Louis DMA you've certainly heard this radio commercial. It’s not a new campaign as other dealerships across the country have been running it for years. A local dealership group has been running this campaign for well over a year now. The female who repeatedly mentions the “One Dime Down!” phrase imitates Marisa Tome's character in My Cousin Vinny or Fran Drescher, take your pick, in the many spots they have produced. Based on my limited research, everyone I've asked has heard it.
So, they've accomplished great awareness. While their efforts to drive memorization of this phrase have worked, when I ask what auto dealership is it promoting, the responses have mostly been wrong.
For the sake of creativity, they've developed promotional spots that inspire curiosity. At least for me, I listen wondering "what is she up to now?" But not effectively tying the dealership's name to the phrase means this campaign messaging is a failure. Generally, the dealership's name is near the end and gets lost. I wonder how many other dealerships have people walking in asking about the "one dime down" deal.
This is a classic example of complicating your message for the sake of creativity which results in poor message effectiveness. As Donald Miller of StoryBrand and Business Made Simple says, "If you confuse, you'll lose."
Since this campaign is being run in markets across the country, I can only assume it’s performing well due to the sheer volume and frequency of spots being run. So, unfortunately, even poor messaging can be successful if you shove it into the listener's head over and over and over.
The next time I'm in the market for a car, I'm going to ask about putting one dime down. Unfortunately, I'll probably be in the wrong dealership…
The lesson here is Be clear, be simple! If creativity clouds the message, then change it. Next week I'll highlight a campaign I've heard for years that does it right.
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