Category Ads Don’t Make Sense

I just saw on TV an ad by Bigpond for DVD home movie rental. Creative, humorous ad … but nothing really special. The only thing is, the main thrust of the message was to sell viewers on home DVD rental, not necessarily Bigpond home DVD rental.

So they’re really just promoting the “home DVD rental” category, and not saying anything at all about how different they are to competitors like QuickFlix and others.

Epson have been doing the same thing lately — ads on the back of IT magazines advertising their products, but again showing no difference compared to competitors like HP and Canon.

The current ad shows how a stapler isn’t as good at multi-tasking as an Epson printer — yet Canon and HP multifunction printers are in the same category and perform the same functions.

Another recent Epson ad showed how their printers had individual cartridges for each ink colour (the main image was a case of pencils with one nearly used up) — again, just like their competitors HP, Canon et al.

If consumers are “duped” into believing Bigpond and Epson are the only companies to offer such products … once they realise that’s not the case, what will their perception be of Bigpond and Epson? Will it be lowered when they realise competing products also offer the same features?

So in that case, what’s the point of promoting a “category” of product like multifunction printers when consumers later realise yours is just of several choices? You might convince them to pick a multifunction printer, or get home DVD rentals, but you’re not ruling out your competitors in your marketing.

Wouldn’t you rather get people hungry for your own product, and see good reason to choose you over a competitor?

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