Why is Your Stuff Any Different?

Someone asked me this question this week while I was giving my passionate thoughts on what creative should look like in a :30 TV spot. After preaching about how price must dominate the screen and you only run one offer per spot tied around a unique sale event they continued to say that’s what they’d been doing and it wasn’t working.

I told them to show me a couple of their recent TV spots. They were exactly what I expected. The spots featured big pictures of an empty dealership front with no customers, cars riding down roads in the mountains (like you would expect from a factory ad) and the prices on screen were so small I had to squint my eyes to see them on a computer. Full disclosure, this was not a highline store but a major volume brand.

I then played a few of my spots. One had a space shuttle taking off in the beginning. Another had a ninja with a samurai sword cutting a payment in half. One even had a fire breather with the flames erupting into the numbers. None of my spots showed any running footage had only prices and payments that were full screen. This dealer was kind of in shock. Maybe it was the ads or just how bizarre of concepts I used to get across the point of a great price in the ads. Regardless he said, “I guess your spots have more punch.”

That is it. Tier 3 creative needs punch. It needs something that reaches through the screen and grabs someone out of their living room and catches their attention. You have heard of cutting through the clutter with an ad, but how about straight up making peoples mouths drop in sheer wonder of what is on screen.

I have a wife and three young kids. At my house either cartoons are on TV or we are watching something that she or I prefer which leaves the other four people in the room doing something else with their attention. This is why you have to create the bold and harness the bizarre to make an ad that truly will deliver you next day traffic.


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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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