Entertaining is not enough

"Like me! Like me!"

Entertaining is not enough.
I know it suits a lot of people in the ad-making business to think it's all about being the most likable or entertaining brand.
But it really isn't.
It's a point of view that's grown over the last few years, quite often by people desperate to mimic and match great advertising they saw growing up. But what these people conveniently forget is that those great advertising campaigns had a foundation in something tangible or compelling about the product or service they were selling. Then it was made entertaining.

If an ad agency is telling you that it's all about an emotional connection with your brand over communicating compelling points about your product, then one of two things is happening:

1. They are bullshitting you,
2. They are wrong.

People buy and choose products. And the decision-making process for choosing which ones is complex and different for every kind of product and service...


that's just a random few off the top of my head.
But there are people out there who are trying to bamboozle clients into a one-size-fits-all way of thinking - that the only criteria that people are using to decide what they spend their hard-earned spondoolicks on is whether they like you or not.

Well I really like Aston Martins, but I won't be buying one.
Why? Because I don't have enough money.
I also sort of like Audi, Alfa Romeo, BMW and VW. I wouldn't call them close friends.
But they seem ok.
But that's not the only reason I would choose a car made by those people or not.
The reasons are many. And a lot of them are tangible things like technology, quality and performance.
And that's just cars.

People trying to sell the entertainment-only approach are ignoring a whole bunch of other potential strategies for getting people to want/try/buy/consider lots of very different products.

If you buy into the nonsense that it's all about entertaining, then you are now in an entertainment battle with your competitors. It's all about who is the most liked. Forget the millions you spend on research and development, manufacturing and distribution of your product - you are in the entertainment business now, you need to put all of your money into hiring the best clowns.

Advertising at its heart is a simple business:
Find something to say about the product.
Communicate it in a compelling, memorable and entertaining way.

But it isn't easy to do that brilliantly.
That's why a lot of people have fallen back on just being entertaining.
It's a bit lazy really.

More Sell! Sell! crapping on about advertising.


  1. That just about sums up every current tv campaign, and if they are not trying to entertain us they are trying to bamboozle us with special effects and over-production!

  2. If people buy products and not brands, then how is it that Apple are selling their iPhone so well?

  3. Because it's an amazing, category-busting product?
    Their advertising for it is basically a product demo - and this works because it's a cracking product.

  4. Can you give us an example of a purely entertaining ad. One that has no bearing to the product or brand attributes.


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