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Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner

Sensei, my 130 lb. Akita, was pulling me down the street as if I were on water skis.

We had come around a corner on our morning walk when he spotted Elmo, a neighborhood cat who played Roadrunner to Sensei’s Wile E. Coyote.

Akitas originated in Japan and are used as police dogs and fighting dogs. They are also used to hunt bear.

Elmo would be a cocktail appetizer if Sensei ever caught him without humans around. Señor feline had known this from the day the two had met, and he bolted under a fence and out of sight. The leash went slack.

We carried on up the block, Sensei staking claim to every tree, light pole and fire hydrant on the street.

At the corner a teenage kid rode by on a bicycle. He was going about 7 miles an hour and was wearing a crash helmet.

A crash helmet. It’s the law.

When I was a kid, we used to race down hills and small mountains on our bikes at 40, 50 miles per hour. My brother fell off his bike coming down one of those hills one time. Scraped skin: iodine, bandages and on we rode.

It’s fine if someone wants to wear a helmet to protect themselves while riding a bike. But it should be their choice, not ordered by Big Nanny.

Kids used to fall of off horses as a rite of passage learning to ride in a bygone era. If riders from those years had been told there was a law mandating that they wear a helmet when they rode in order to protect themselves, they’d have strung the politicos up.

I’m not suggesting anything, I’m just saying…

Once in office, politicians seem to become obsessed with the delusion that they must protect us from ourselves and that they have the moral authority to mandate our behavior. This, of course, is the same fraternity that has bankrupted the greatest nation on earth and turned politics into a wholly owned subsidiary of Heidi Fleiss, Inc.

Take seat belts. Please.

Do seat belts save lives? They do. But if I want to drive without a seat belt – which I do – then why should Big Nanny force me to do otherwise?

I am not interested in their statistics or their mandates of my behavior.

The only reason I get into my car and buckle up is to avoid paying a $327 fine – the amount I had to pay for the ticket I got for not wearing one.

All of which brings us to the point of this article: A great commercial.

By way of introduction, if my attitude about seat belts isn’t clear, you’ve got to quit smoking that stuff.

Attitude or no, check this out, it is a terrific bit of advocacy. It’s worth the minute, twenty-nine seconds. Even if you’ve seen it before, look at it from a marketing perspective.

The message communicates powerfully; the positioning is superb.

Here’s the other side of the coin (31 secs):

It carries the wrong emotional tone, as well as a failed attempt at humor.

The point? It not only makes a difference what you say in your advertising, but how you say it. The marketing intelligence for both should come from surveys of your customers and prospects.

How did your customers find you? Did they shop other vendors? What was it specifically that made them decide to buy from you? What do they most like about your product and why?

For prospects, what is it exactly, and in their own words, that they think is valuable about what you sell? And if they are with another vendor, what would motivate them to switch or at least try your product?

Knowing your prospect’s likes, dislikes, opinions and attitudes about what you sell enables you to craft your marketing messages so they parallel the minds of those that you are trying to reach.

Surveys should be the foundation of your communications strategy. Done right, the clouds part and the marketing angels sing. We should know, we’ve been building these foundations for customers for a quarter of a century.

If you want to increase the response to your advertising and marketing programs, call us. Because at On Target Research, we deliver surveys that drive sales.

“I was advertising what I thought people wanted to hear, but I had never thought to actually ask them. Truly finding out their opinions and using them to formulate my marketing efforts was the smartest thing I ever did. On Target Research is by far superior to any marketing company today. I urge any company looking to expand to invest in this program and utilize the results.” James A. Spina, D.C.


Bruce Wiseman
President & CEO
On Target Research