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.