I am a marketing department’s worst nightmare. Because while I completely appreciate good commercials, they never influence me to buy the product. Kudos to McDonald’s for their retro “Give Me Back My Filet-O-Fish” commercial, equipped with a Ford Ranchero and a catchy 8-bit sounding song via text message. And those guys in the Sonic commercials, what’s not to love about “get those taste buds going, danga-langa-langa-langa-langa… Mornin’ Gents!” or “YOU’RE A CHEAP DATE!”
Yet I never buy from or eat at McDonald’s or Sonic. I respect their commercials, but they’re just entertainment. That’s all. Completely ineffective as far as getting me to actually spend money.
Which causes me to think about this question: When is the last time I bought a product or service based on an advertisement, of any kind? Through a TV commercial, radio commercial, or magazine ad. Any sort of marketing ad.
And I’m not counting the times I was already searching for a general product and came across a website. That doesn’t count.
I’m talking about this situation: I never heard of the product. I see an advertisement. I buy it.
The last purchase I made was a food purchase. I bought some cupcakes from Gigi’s Cupcakes. Because my wife heard about how awesome they are from some people at work. So I bought the cupcakes through word-of-mouth.
Other than other mundane purchases like groceries and gas, the only other item I purchased in the last few weeks was a Rubik’s Cube, which I knew of through years of word-of-mouth.
Three years ago I bought an i-pod, but not because of the commercials. Because my friends had them. Then I bought mine from amazon.com.
Same thing with my GPS.
Same thing with choosing Verizon Wireless as my cell phone company.
And my subscription to Details magazine.
And going through wordpress.com to get my own website.
And my town house. My wife’s friend already lived in that neighborhood.
And my Wii. I was sold on it well over a year before it even came out.
Even when I see a commercial for a movie, I won’t go see it or rent it or even watch it at all until I’ve talked to someone who’s seen it or until I’ve read a promising online review. Word-of-mouth.
As for buying music, I may buy a new CD if I hear it playing on the radio or at Borders, but that’s not advertising, that’s exposure.
So there’s the pattern. I only buy things based on the recommendation of a person I trust. And of course they’re never the ones actually selling me the product.
Okay, I can finally remember a time when I bought a product based on a commercial or ad. It was high school. My freshman year: 1995. I bought a Trix t-shirt because I looked through a t-shirt magazine my friend gave me.
Oh wait, nevermind. I only got the magazine because a friend gave it to me and said that I would like it.
So the last time I bought a product directly because of an advertisement was probably back in the early ‘90’s when I would buy Ninja Turtle action figures. Toys. When I was a kid.
As an adult, I guess I kinda like the idea of outsmarting the advertising departments of companies.
Bottom line: If a product or service is worth purchasing, word will get around and eventually get to me. That’s the only advertising that honestly matters to me.