Overheard around the water cooler: “Have you seen that commercial with the guy whose car honks to let him know when he’s about to do something stupid? I don’t know which car it’s for, but it’s hilarious!”
If that’s your commercial being vaguely referenced around the water cooler, your brand might be in trouble. The concept was funny enough to get a viewer’s attention, but not clear enough to convey a message and make it stick. There probably are a few people in the world who have enough interest and spare time to search online for the commercial whose brand they can’t remember, but there can’t be that many, and certainly not enough to justify what you spent on the spot.
Who doesn’t know which rice is the San Francisco treat? Who can’t tell you the name of the bunny that “keeps going and going?” And who doesn’t know which credit card you shouldn’t leave home without? Those are examples of memorable taglines that made lasting impressions on viewers and enhanced brand recognition. But what about this one: “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” Everyone knows the tagline, but if you ask three different people who it’s for, you’ll get three different answers. They’ll be pretty sure that it’s Life Call or Life Alert or Life Something or Other, but they’d have to get back to you on that, and in the meantime, you’re stuck supine on the bathroom floor and wondering who to call. The phrase is instantly recognizable even almost 25 years after the spot first ran, but the brand isn’t.
If your commercial is causing people to remember your brand’s name, congratulations – your commercial is doing its job. If everybody loves your commercial but doesn’t know it’s yours, you’ll need to do some fine tuning. You’ve worked hard to build your brand and you want to make sure it is getting the recognition it deserves, so don’t waste a really great concept on a vague message that people would love to pass onto friends – if only they could.