Want attention? Add zombies and make kids watch them

painted car

I want to step back in time and take a short look at what life used to be like when I was a kid. It might be very different from what you remember, depending on how old you are and the country you live in. I am 40 years old, and I live in Norway. When I was a kid we had two TV channels, one Norwegian and, because I live close to the border of Sweden, we had access to a Swedish channel as well. A few years later, we had access to two Swedish channels. And we all know what happened. We got TV via satellite and via cable, and it didn’t just add one or two extra channels, but hundreds.

It used to be that in order to get attention, and increase sales, you created a TV commercial and aired it on one of the few TV channels available. The price you had to paid was high, but you had a warranty in many viewers. This is what we can refer to as shelf space. The warranty was shelf space for your products, and if you made it to the shelf, you made sales. It was the same in grocery stores, or book stores, or music stores, or any kind of store. It used to be that we had just a few stores where I live, and if you had your products on the shelf inside the store, you had the attention of the customers.

But, now, it’s different. We have access to everything from everywhere. And…

There is enough shelf space for everyone

It’s still not that hard to get attention. What’s hard is that we have to earn attention in order to get customers. This brings me to the latest commercial of XXL, the fastest growing sportsretailer in Norway. They understand that it’s enough shelf space for everyone. They understand that in order to get attention, they have to be creative and they have to be different.

That’s why they created a new commercial, and it’s been showing on TV when kids are still up and watching (I watched it during the TV show Norway’s Got Talent):

I am not sure what my first reaction was. But I remember my second reaction; I was happy that my kids didn’t sit next to me.

XXL certainly got my attention. And it seems that they’ve got the attention of a lot of people in Norway. I’ve talked to friends about it, and I have read about it in the media. The commercial is of high quality, no doubt about it. The actors are great, the zombies are looking awesome (almost as good as The Walking Dead).

But, is attention enough?

Attention vs relationships

I keep asking myself the question; why aren’t big brands focusing on building relationships? I believe that, in the long run, a brand will get more customers and earn more money by focusing on building relationships than by creating expensive (and creative) advertisements.

I enjoy watching new and creative commercials, but it doesn’t turn me into a customer. And, usually, I don’t watch commercials on TV anymore, I just skip them.

2 years 4 months ago

I couldn’t help but laugh at the video. I get a little squimish around zombies, but this certain video was just amusing. Apparently the marketing strategy we have today is; get their attention THEN shove the product down their throats.

2 years 4 months ago

It sure is attention grabbing, and that’s what marketing has become for most of the big brands. They have enough money to spend on creative ad agencies, and by watching ads like this, I feel like I’m living in the Mad Men era :)

2 years 4 months ago

I was pretty hesitant to watch the video but you certainly tickled my curiosity bone. Thank you for sharing your insights on this.

2 years 4 months ago

I don’t usually watch Zombies either, but since I was more or less forced to watch it on TV, I discovered that it was more or less all about humor :)

I hope you enjoyed it :)

2 years 4 months ago

First off I’d like to say that the commercial was highly entertaing despite my horror for zombies and other living dead creatures. But it did catch my attention. Then again that’s what marketing is all about catching attention, then giving the details.

2 years 4 months ago

It’s hard to get peoples attention, so the ad does a great job doing that. But, I don’t believe it’s doing a good job at building a relationship. That’s where I believe ads are struggling.

2 years 4 months ago

I wouldn’t get too hung up on branding or brand messages given the chance to start a new business. Yes, you need a brand, but that will evolve with time. For now, just make sure you present yourself with a name appropriate to what you do and in an appropriately elegant way. You’ll get a higher return for your time and energy if you spend it creating a proposition that the market wants and getting known by people who can help you get in touch with potential clients, rather than expensive branding exercises. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very much much into ads and getting lured into buying stuff just because a commercial made a strong impact :) Thanks!

2 years 4 months ago

I believe you’re absolutely right Emilia. I really enjoy watching high quality ads as well, but I usually don’t end up buying anything after watching it. On the other hand, I might get a better impression about the company, or I’ll remember the company the next time I’m going shopping or maybe I’ll share information about the ad or the company with friends. But, the money is better spent building relationships.

2 years 4 months ago

In today’s most competitive atmosphere, it is critical for retailers to maintain and build on their brand awareness, as well as reinforce the value proposition of their market.I’m a huge fan of ads that are persuasive and attention grabbing at the same time. Neat! Thanks!

2 years 4 months ago

Hey Kristine,

The ad is great, and I love watching creative and attention grabbing ads. But, there are not as many as I would like. To me, it seems that most ads are close to identical. It’s hard to remember what I’ve watched just five minutes after I’ve watched them.