Is Your Fantastic Marketing Too Damn Pushy?

Maybe you’ve heard consumers are in control these days.

Now there’s a new study published by some brainiacs at the University of Central Florida that proclaims consumers dislike assertive ads.

It’s not too surprising, no one likes being told what to do.

The interesting part of the study is consumers especially dislike assertive selling from brands they like and are loyal to.

Guess it’s like finding out your friend is a creep.

I have always despised the “So…” wrap up in ads, where the writer presents a logical, lawyerly case of why a product or service is terrific. (Copywriter’s secret: the case is usually all the bullet points from the creative brief, gussied up in full sentences and then strung together like pearls on a necklace.)

Then, the lazy writer rests his/her case–– the last paragraph has the “So…” close.

“So, hurry down to Zeke’s CarsZensation, and grab a great deal on your dream car!”
“So, next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up some nutritiously delicious Smelbar’s Melba Toast! The toast that’s toasty-tasty.”
“So, drink Bedster Bourbon. A really good drink!”

It’s as if the writer is tired of writing, now it’s up to readers to do their jobs–– BUY!

Assumptive/assertive selling is obnoxious. And surprise, people don’t like it.

One of the study’s leaders, Dr. Zemack-Ruger, reports assertive ads affect spending decisions, too. The pushier the ad, the less likely people are to purchase the product.

The best ads in the study were those that were “informative and hint at action.”

There’s an inverse relationship between pushiness and effectiveness. It appears people like freedom of choice.

Dr. Zemack-Ruger writes that little tweaks can make a big difference. “Buy now”–– not good. “Now is a good time to buy”– much better.

Howard Luck Gossage, my advertising hero (I have his ’63 trading card), used to say, “When baiting the trap, don’t forget to leave room for the mouse.”

In other words, let the audience be a part of the process, and make up its own damn mind.

So, there!