Have you ever tried to be cute or funny at the end of a conversation, only to wish you’d kept your mouth shut? Too many TV and radio commercials make that mistake, the most recent example being the Stanley Steemer carpet cleaning service.
After roughly 25 seconds of telling you what a great job Stanley Steemer will do cleaning your carpet, the commercial ends by showing a female customer saying with a slight laugh, “If only it would stay that clean.” Now WHY would they have her say that? Why encourage the viewer to think, “That’s a good point–Why spend all that money when the carpet is just going to get dirty again?” Granted, not everyone will respond to the line this way, but some might. So why take the chance?
it’s essential that advertisers scrutinize every line of copy for any potential downside. And if there is potential downside, the only way the line should survive is if it entails even greater upside. In the case of the Stanley Steemer ad, the closing line does not contribute one iota of charm or humor; it’s all downside with zero upside, and thus it should never have been proposed by the agency or approved by the client.
Lord knows that customers can think of all sorts of reasons not to buy your product on their own; there’s absolutely no reason to sow any seeds of doubt that might grow into additional reasons for them to take a pass. And remember–If you’re going to try to be cute at the end of your commercial, you’d better be sure you’re reinforcing your message rather than refuting it.