July 26, 2000
At the time, Nova seemed to be such a great name for a great little car. Images of bright shooting stars, speeding fireballs, bursting with energy in the great reaches of the universe captured the imagination. Except in Spain. the car's name translated roughly as "doesn't go", not the best imagery for an automobile. A more literal translation, however, alluded not to the performance of the car but rather to the lack of performance of any male owner of the car. Chevrolet had to shut down this car's overseas advertising quicker than Bob Dole can say "E.D."
There's more than one way to unwittingly reverse soaring sales of a product and Barry Cohen will share them at a Middlesex Chamber seminar entitled "10 Ways to Screw Up an Ad Campaign" on Thursday, August 3, at 8 a.m. at the Clarion Hotel, Route 27, Edison. Cost: $30. Call 732-821-1700.
Cohen is co-founder and a managing member of a three year-old company, Ad Lab Media Communications LLC in Clifton. A 1975 Kean University graduate who majored in English with a speech and theater minor, Cohen started by selling ads for New Jersey and New York stations and even managed a small station in Virginia. Ad Lab was created when his partner and co-founder wanted to start up an audio-video production company. It now focuses on the technology of advertising and how to help small businesses plan and create successful campaigns.
Besides avoiding the pitfalls of the infamous Nova story, Cohen says there is much to consider in planning an effective campaign, but the basic idea is "to 'out-advertise' the competition, not outspend them. It's important to kick up some dust and get noticed", Cohen says. There's really no hocus-pocus to good advertising. Instead there's a tangible formula that drives the results.
In assessing good marketing practices, Cohen says, find out not just whether the advertising measures up: "You have to throw out the rules. Get down and dirty. Stop using cookie cutter formulas. You really can't do what was done 40 years ago, especially since habits have changed so much in society. Probably the last dad who came home from work, sat down in the living room and read the evening paper was Ward Cleaver." Does that mean newspaper advertising is out? No, it just has to be up-to-date and used more effectively.
People's lives are compartmentalized with soccer practices, volunteer commitments, family, work, and so much more. "You've got to come up with ways to keep up with the changes of the media you use, and create promotions that are larger than life in order to spark your audience's interest and make your campaign come alive."
Cohen insists on saving 9 of his 10 actual tips for the seminar, but he does offer mistake number one: Hiring your brother-in-law to do your marketing.
Browse all articles