Diluting Your Message

Ad Dilution

After taking a vacation and clearing my mind, I walked in my office yesterday and looked at a handful of ads that were being produced. I saw many that I liked and a few I wanted to change. The ones that were to be changed had one component in common – they were diluted.

My definition of a diluted ad is one that tries to sell too many things at one time. To use a quote that Mike Strong taught me, “It’s hard enough to sell one proposition in a :30 ad; and it’s totally impossible to sell 3.”

Some of this is due to the time of year. Manufacturers are racing to hit their year- end numbers so new events and theme/logo requirements are required in ads. This can create a little havoc when a sale or theme is already in place. Then, at the last minute, a manufacturer comes out with “the sale event of the month” and requires it to be included in every dealer’s ad. That compounded with wanting to push multiple offers makes creating an effective ad a real challenge.

Going back to what has consistently worked best for dealers across the country is to take their very best product, at the best price or payment, and use an entire ad to leverage this point. When 3 to 4 different offers or messages get placed in a :30 spot, it becomes challenging to create something that will result in traffic.


About the author

John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising. Strong began his career as a fresh-faced account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry. The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners. Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40” feature and the 2017 CEO Awards. The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program. Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.


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