Show and Tell

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We all remember show and tell days back in grade school – a chance for kids to show off to their classmates by bringing in their cool new toys, pets, or creations. Kids were given a few minutes to stand in front of the class, hold their prized possession, and brag relentlessly about how “cool” they were for having it.

As advertisers (or companies paying for advertising services), we can relate to these children. Our objects are our products or services, while our classmates are our competitors. We are constantly trying to one-up the other guys, proving to customers that our product or service is the best. However, this isn’t completely the same as Show & Tell back in the day. The best method to use in print, TV and video advertising is more showing and less telling. Here’s why:

1. People don’t want to hear a sales pitch.
Most people don’t enjoy walking into a department store and having the sales associates hound you about things they think you’d like. Let’s face it. No one really likes a salesman. People don’t want you to blatantly try to convince them your product or service is worth having. They want to see it in action and judge for themselves. Would you buy a car without taking it for a test drive? Probably not. The same goes for buying laundry detergent. Without seeing OxiClean® in action, would you really trust Billy Mayes that it works?

2. There is no such thing as “taking your word for it” in advertising.
Can you think of a single ad that simply told you about the product without showing examples? Probably not, because any you may have seen were most likely ineffective. Most ads have at least a testimonial or two, a demonstration of how the product works, or a live video of the product in motion.

3. TV is popular for a reason.
Without images of products, examples, video demonstrations, no one would listen. You need to show your product before you can tell your customers about it. Imagine a product unveiling without being able to see the product. Not very interesting, right? Now imagine your favorite sports car commercial, or vacuum cleaner commercial. Why do you get sucked into late night infomercials so easily? Because that knife glides so smoothly through that tomato.

The average American watches three years’ worth of television ads over the course of a lifetime. With so many advertisements fighting for attention, don’t you want yours to be the champions?

Tell us what your all-time favorite advertisements are.

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