The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Does The Hard Sell Work, Or Leave A Nasty Taste In Your Mouth? [Boom Tish]
December 1, 2011, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

So years ago, my dear friend and colleague – Andy – signed up to a website that promised passwords to all the porn sites.

That action speaks volumes of his character … but it also speak about his IT intelligence because unsurprisingly, this website didn’t furnish him with the key to love, lust and filth but simply took his information and used it to hack into our cynic server so they could use it as an outlet to send tens of thousands of spam emails each and every day.

After spending shitloads of cash getting in experts from Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, Norton and countless others … we finally stemmed the tide and got it down from tens of thousands a day to a couple of hundred … however, even though cynic is no more, I still use my cynic address because I’m a sentimental idiot which is why, I still get a steady stream of smut and “amazing deals” from the sort of people and companies you’d definitely cross the street to avoid.

Just recently I got this …

The thing is, as much as it’s going straight into the ‘delete’ file [or at least that’s what I’m telling you], when I looked at it, I thought it was quite a good summation of what many clients want their agencies to do with their ads.

Basically overkill and hard sell.

Oh sure, they may say they like ’emotionally driven advertising’, but when push comes to shove, they demand that anyone who sees/reads/hears their communication is left under no illusion of what they are selling, what the ‘user benefit’ is and why there’s is better than everyone else’s.

Sure, advertising is there to encourage motivation, action and – ultimately – sales, but this attitude that people need to be basically bullied into doing something is completely and utterly the wrong approach.

People don’t want to help brands.

People don’t want to be bullied.

What people want are things that are in their best interests … which is why it’s so important to work out what will address your audiences emotional ‘needs/wants/fears’ in a way that also addresses your client’s commercial ‘needs/wants/fears’. It’s not hard and yet more and more clients are trying to ‘force’ action with an increasingly insistent approach to their communication.

Take that email above.


OK … we get it. You sell something that [allegedly] makes your penis bigger which – as we all know – is the only requirement a woman needs to sleep with you and perform masses of oral sex.

For gods sake, who the hell is going to believe this?

Sure, there may be a few redneck retards who think this is the key to getting women, but at the end of the day, would any other brand really want these people as their customers?

Hmmmmn, maybe I shouldn’t ask that.

The thing is, this ‘hard sell’ approach actually works counter to what the brand wants to happen.

Rather than ‘make’ people react, it makes people turn away so until brands understand that repeating the offer/benefit/promise/claim 10 times in an ad only works if you do it in an ironic way [like this genius spot from FEDEX demonstrates or this brilliant interview with my first boss, Steve Henry, details] then all you are doing is advertising why people shouldn’t buy your brand, which is – as I understand – not what communication is supposed to do.


35 Comments so far
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It’s uncanny how the internet conspires against Andy. What has he done to deserve this?

Comment by John

He always seems to be where trouble is. He’s either the magnet for mayhem or the unluckiest man alive.

Comment by Rob

im going to fucking sue.

Comment by andy@cynic

Please do, I could do with more money from you. Ha.

Comment by Rob

i never get emails about making my cock hard. maybe its not spam campbell, maybe its perfectly fucking planned direct bastard marketing.

Comment by andy@cynic

Maybe it’s from Jill? Never thought of that …

Comment by Rob

it wouldnt be her, she wouldnt want your pea sized cock anywhere near her.

Comment by andy@cynic

hard sell.
hard on.
is this your fucking way to link this post together? doesnt fucking work.

Comment by andy@cynic

Any chance you can forward me the email? It’s not for me, it’s for my friend.

Comment by Billy Whizz

I always thought the porn spam was one of the perks of the job.

Comment by DH

and we still gave you a few bills at the end of every fucking month. were we the most generous fuckers around or what.

Comment by andy@cynic

correction. was i the most generous fucker or what.

Comment by andy@cynic

Hey Billy, Rob called you a redneck retard.

Comment by DH

Women like big cocks and gin. Period.

Can you see what I did there?

Comment by Billy Whizz

yes billy, you showed why you cant get fucking laid in a brothel.

Comment by andy@cynic

oi campbell, you noticed how fucking calm and amenable steve henry sounds in that interview? theres a few fucking “youre wrongs” but overall the fucker sounds pleasant.

what the fuck?

Comment by andy@cynic

Maybe it was down to you two?

Comment by Pete

we all know it was mr written fucking warning and that he made life hell for the rest of fucking us. what a total fucking selfish bastard prick.

Comment by andy@cynic

good fucking fedex spot too. better than that google shit of yesterday then my shit is better than that google shit yesterday.

Comment by andy@cynic

Interesting way to make an important point. But it works. (the point, not the product they’re trying to sell to you via email)

Yes Andy, I’ve come out of hiding.

Comment by Pete

you fucking wimp.

Comment by andy@cynic

You know I like you Pete, but what Andy said.

Comment by DH

At least I showed up and that’s better than George.

Comment by Pete

you fucking bastard. fair fucking point though.

Comment by andy@cynic

I enjoyed the Henry interview, the Fedex ad and the message of the post, however could we keep references to Andrew’s porn fascination to a minimum as I still have to see the gentleman from time to time.

Comment by Lee Hill

it wasnt me, it was george. hes the one with 3 kids so what else has he got for any fucking fun.

Comment by andy@cynic

Just don’t look him in the eye or shake his hand and you’ll be fine Lee.

Comment by DH

fuck you.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m surprised you haven’t used your favourite BBHism.

“Get them to buy, don’t try and sell.”

Can’t you afford the royalties any more Rob?

Comment by Pete

I can’t believe I forgot to mention that … thank you for having my back Pete.

By the way, you have to do a lot more to weasel your way back into our hearts after yesterday’s poor no show. Ha.

Comment by Rob

Yeah, that’s it Pete.

So a terribly unsubtle, very direct line like “PENIS GROWTH FREE TRIAL SAMPLE” could sound something like:

“What heaven owes you, we give it to you.”

I’ll collect the royalties next time I see you Rob.

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

I’d suggest I’d buy you dinner, but knowing how much you eat, I’ll simply pay the royalties.

Comment by Rob

You’re a sensible man….in some respects.

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

I think it’s sad that the clients usually ask for the hard sell, in your face solution because they aren’t willing to put their necks on the line, when in reality they’re doing just that by asking you to cram their four USPs into a banner ad.

Nice post Rob. Very interesting way to make your point!

Comment by Rafik

I wonder if my clients will agree Rafik.

Comment by Rob

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