Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Livin' la vida local

Local ads are almost too easy a target. Low budgets and cable TV ad space are a recipe for low-quality conceptual thinking, art direction, execution and, of course, acting. But occasionally you see a local ad where the owner has clearly spent a good amount of money yet still ended up with something so self-indulgent, so uninteresting that they probably would have had better luck if they had used a camcorder and high school students.

Unfortunately, this ad for mid-western electronics/appliance chain ABC Warehouse isn't posted on YouTube, but the company was proud enough of it to make the spot available on their site:

Go here to view ad.

Owner: ABC Warehouse is always the closest thing to wholesale.

Gotta love it when owners star in their own commercials.

Owner: Although, we're still a long drive from Florida.

Ah, this is one of those "jokes." We're supposed to chuckle here. Because it's the closest thing to wholesale, but not necessarily in a geographic sense. I get it. Well it's an even longer drive from Anchorage. It would be even longer by dog sled. And it's a super long space shuttle ride from the earth-like planet that orbits the red dwarf Gliese 581.

Owner: If you see an advertised sale price lower than ours

"We'll beat it! Bring in the ad, and we'll not only match it, we'll BEAT it! ABC Warehouse - the closest thing to Wholesale!"

I'm sure this it going to be some radical claim that's going to blow all their competitors out of the water. Wait for it...

Owner: it's probably for milk or eggs or something.

KA-BOO- wait. Or.... you could go that direction. Where there should be an awesome retailer claim like "Nobody beats ABC Warehouse!" we have this fetid carcass of a joke. ABC Warehouse apparently thinks they're pretty funny, though - they even have this "milk or eggs" line on their website under its own tab called "Gordyisms."

Oh, what's that? You want more Gordyisms? You got it:

"I couldn't carry all the brands we carry!"

But, you do carry them, because they're like, in your store. Oh, no wait, you're making a pun. Joking about physically carrying things that do not exist in physical space. Hah. Hah ha. Ha - oh god.

"I make the kind of deals that even I can't beat!"

The Gordian Knot of retail claims. Try running this one by your Legal department. On the plus side, they certainly avoided talking about the competition's deals. Why would anyone want to beat the competition?

Owner: You know, I have to have sales

How often do wholesale stores have sales? Isn't the whole point of bargain basement joints that they don't need sales because their products are already so cheap?

Owner: because let's face it, me and Mrs. Gordy, we got enough stuff.

Setting: Lower Detroit Area Community College. Economics 102: Microeconomics.

Professor Gordy: All right, take your seats, kids. Welcome to our first day here in Econ class. Let's get started. Can anyone tell me why stores have sales?

Student #1: To move merchandise that the manufacturer has discounted or discontinued?

Professor Gordy: Good guess, but a little bit off. Anyone else?

Student #2: They have sales to drive awareness of their store and stay ahead of the competition?

Professor Gordy: Again, not quite there. Basically, when a store owner and his wife have accumulated enough stuff, like in their basement, they come to a point where they can't realistically store all of it. At this point, the owner has a "sale" so they give some of their stuff away.

Let me boil this ad down to its essence -- "ABC Warehouse: We're basically a flea market. If you see cheaper prices elsewhere, go to that store to buy things, because we won't do anything about it. We do have sales, but we have them because Mrs. Gordy doesn't like clutter."

Message to ABC Warehouse: You know The Home Depots and Best Buys of the world are cheaper. So, you have to actually differentiate yourself if you expect anyone to buy things at your store. Ill-conceived, medium production value ads aren't going to convince Bob Nascar to get his HDTV from ABC Warehouse when a big box is across the street. Time to rethink your strategy.


Windier E. Megatons said...

"Pitiable local ads" is a fantastic label.

c12h22o11 said...

It reminds me a LOT of the Men's Wearhouse ads. I feel like George Zimmer and Mr. Gordy are drinking buddies.

Tyler said...

This guy is the Yogi Berra of electronics/appliance chains.

He's got nothing on Sammy Stephens of Flea Market Montgomery though. Now there's a pitchman with some style.

Quivering P. Landmass said...

Well, after YouTubing Mr. Stephens, I have nothing but a deep, unwavering respect for a man who could do that on television.