While we’re on the topic of commercials, I thought I’d bring up one that particularly bugged me. You’ve seen this one before. The Glade candle commercial. Or should I say the Glah-day candle commercial? You know, this one:
I know. Everyone likes this commercial. So cute, right? Can’t you, like, totally relate to the Glah-day woman? Wouldn’t you like to be her friend?
No. You’re wrong. This is a dumb commercial. And I’ll tell you why.
Like most of the OTI writing staff, I went to a university that did not offer “practical classes,” so I’ve never taken Advertising 101. Fortunately, as usual, the Internet saved the day, this time in the form of the University of Tennessee: Knoxville website. One Megan L. Bruch, Marketing Specialist, had this to say in her very helpful PDF (here in html form) called “Advertising 101”:
When developing advertisements, consider the six point advertising strategy. This strategy will assist in creating a focused and comprehensive advertisement that will effectively communicate needed information to potential customers.
A six point strategy?! Tell me more! What are these six points?
- Primary Purpose: Ask, What is the primary purpose of our advertisement?
- Primary Benefit: What unique benefit can we offer our customers?
- Secondary Benefit: What other key benefits will customers receive from using our products or services?
- Target Audience: At whom are we aiming this advertisement?
- Audience Reaction: What response do we want from our audience?
- Company Personality: What image do we want to convey to our audience?
I can only assume the marketers at Glade answered the questions thusly before making this commercial:
- Primary Purpose: To let people know about Glade Scented Candles so they will buy them.
- Primary Benefit: Glade Scented Candles smell as good as home-baked cookies or more expensive, foreign candles–but for half the price!
- Secondary Benefit: If you use Glade Scented Candles, you, too, will have a gaggle of witty friends who will visit you and laugh with you under the delicious scent of candles!
- Target Audience: Middle-aged but vivacious women who live in the suburbs not because they have to, but because they want to.
- Audience Reaction: They will go out and buy Glade Scented Candles.
- Company Personality: Fun and willing to laugh at itself.
But here’s my reading of this commercial:
- Primary Purpose: To warn people of the stupidity of using Glade Scented Candles, because no one, including the women in this commercial, would ever believe for a second that a Glade Scented Candle could smellsas good as an expensive French candle.
- Primary Benefit: If you use Glade Scented Candles, your friends will make fun of you for being a pretentious idiot.
- Secondary Benefit: The candle’s label will also stick to your ass.
- Target Audience: Dumb women whose self-esteem is so low that they habitually lie to and hang out with catty “friends” who mock them mercilessly about their stupid bourgeois affectations.
- Audience Reaction: I will never, ever buy a Glade Candle.
- Company Personality: Full of people who don’t know how to make effective commercials.
And don’t get me started on the commercial’s sequel, in which the scent of the Glade candle makes the Glah-day lady start hallucinating that her cookies are talking to her:
Man, I’m so stressed out over this! Maybe a scented candle would calm me down…