Tell Me When I Need It

Telling consumers why they need your products or services is the essence of advertising. To be sure, if an ad or marketing piece doesn’t communicate any benefits, it’s almost certainly destined for failure.

That’s why I’ve never purchased a single Calvin Klein product – because I’m not sure how wearing their jeans or cologne will give me rippling abs and allow me to lounge around half-naked with a bunch of beautifully groomed chicks and dudes who also happen to be half-naked…Not that I’d want to. I’m big proponent of monogamy, after all, and my wife claims to not be big into rippling abs anyway.

…Yes, a successful ad or marketing piece compels the consumer to act. But a super successful marketing piece helps dictate when they act.

By that I’m not referring to fitness infomercials that convince the obese that it’s time to lose some weight, guilting them into buying lousy products that falsely promise unbelievably quick and effective results.

Nor am I referring to the scare spots financial planners use to frighten people into establishing a retirement plan first thing in the morning, lest one day you receive a text message from your significant other and realize – at 70 years of age, no doubt – that you’ll be working 40-hour weeks forever.

No, I’m referring to the temporal ads that, when executed correctly and cleverly, can inspire consumers to act at a specific time or date.

For instance, a few weeks ago I saw a bright red billboard featuring that ever recognizable and no doubt irresistible Egg McMuffin, its deliciousness partially covering the word Sunday. At once I recognized the deviousness at work and vowed to never again indulge in a magnificent Egg McMuffin.

But then a few Sundays back my wife asked what we should do for breakfast and, just like those wicked McDonald’s clock-workers anticipated, I instinctively blurted out, without a second of hesitation, that the Winns would be feasting on Egg McMuffins.

What’s more, it wasn’t but a half dozen moments later when I realized the inspiration for my sudden desire for Egg McMuffins. And yet, even though I’d identified the clandestine scheme at work against me, I couldn’t help but surrender to the Golden Arches, willing to admit that I’d been tastily victimized by effective advertising.

“Well played, you dirty scoundrels,” I said, savoring that first decadent bite of cheesy goodness.

But then, while perusing one of my favorite advertising-focused blogs, I happened upon this brilliantly malevolent ad and said enough is enough! Enough indeed. It’s 9 o’clock and oddly I’m craving an Egg McMuffin.