Wednesday, March 08, 2006

From Dull to Brilliant

As a marketer, I pay close attention to marketing and advertising campaigns. I scrutinize television commercials and glossy magazine ads and I make mental notes about them: how do they make me feel, what do I like or dislike, what design techniques are used, who are they targeting? I take note of billboards that catch my eye and of radio commercials I listen to the whole way through. I even read my junk mail!

I have my favorite ads that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside, like Volkswagon, Target and Dove. Then, there are ads I always seem to notice, like Nike, Got Milk and Absolut Vodka. Somehow, just watching or looking at a Nike ad gives me a sense of strength and confidence, like I could walk out the door and run 10 miles with no problem. Finally, there are ads that I just cannot watch or listen to without feeling uncomfortable or annoyed. A few that come to mind are most beer, Old Navy and McDonalds commercials, and up until recently, Tom Shane radio ads.

It wasn’t long ago that I used to turn the station on my radio as soon as I heard Tom Shane’s monotone and nap-inducing voice. I especially disliked the commercials where he gave advice to people about picking out jewelry. The following is not an actual transcript of a Tom Shane commercial.


    Woman: “Tom, I want to make sure my fiancé picks out the ring I want, not the ring he thinks I want.
    Tom: “hmmmm”
    Woman: “But I don’t want to be bossy and tell him what to do. I want him to think he knows what he’s doing.”
    Tom: “uh-huh.”
    Woman: “But if he picks out the wrong ring I will be very upset and just might call the whole thing off.”
    Tom: “oh?” And then Tom explains to the woman how to drop hints to her fiancé about how to pick out the right rock, without making him feel emasculated.
For the longest time I never even heard a complete Tom Shane commercial, but a few months ago I caught the very end of one with the new catchy tagline, “He’s dull, but he’s brilliant. Shane.” Did I hear that right? Is this a joke? Is someone making fun of Tom? Well, it turns out someone was, and that someone was Tom!

Now I love Tom Shane commercials, especially the television ads where you never actually see his face. They are funny and endearing and make his personality much more accessible. I would actually consider buying jewelry from him now because I feel like I know him, like I’d be giving my hard-earned dollars to a friend, not just some guy on the radio.

And that's the power of good marketing. When you take one person's perceptions about a certain product or company and turn them completely around. All it took was a catchy tune and a sense of humor to make me a Tom Shane fan.

I have to note that the above is only my personal opinion and is not based on any kind of scientific research or public opinion surveys.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too detested the radio interviews from the people who were about to purchase jewelry - especially the acknowledgement comments throughout from Mr. Shane. In fact, I'm surprised they were never cited for causing automobile accidents as my eyes begin to close even now just thinking about them.

However, when the new ads came out where he makes fun of his dull personality, I immediately found them to be very familiar to the Motel 6 "we'll leave the light on for you" campaigns - also very dull and simple, though they didn't come right out and admit that they were dull.

So to me, while I appreciate the upgrade (let's face it, anything would've been an improvement!) I find it to be a little unoriginal. To me, the message I take from it is not so much the clever "he's dull but he's brilliant." It's more like - "look, we have one of those dull guys too!"

Wed Mar 29, 12:28:00 PM PST  
Blogger terrell said...

Good point about the Motel 6 commercials; they are very similar.

Wed Mar 29, 03:57:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Morgan said...

I think Shane Co. has done just the right thing. I, like you, suddenly love Tom Shane, and I was a confirmed station-changer for years prior to the new campaign. Even his ad text has a new, appealing level of goofiness, as in the new ad where he holds the necklace up to the microphone "so you can see it." Way to go, Tom. Who knew it would be so simple?

Sat May 06, 01:14:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the ending jingle was "He's dull. She's brilliant. Shane." I couldn't imagine how it was a good idea to call out the very market you rely on for a good chunk of business. Guys buying engagement rings DO come across as dull and any woman who drags a poor shlub into the Shane Co. will probably feel like she's enacting a brilliant plan but...is this really where society has come? Thankfully, my ears did decieve me. Still can't stand that guys voice. Shane.

Wed May 31, 03:55:00 PM PDT  

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