You might have come across two types of advertising – the one that aggressively displays a product and its attributes, and the one that have a story to tell. While there is a time and place for being a braggart, telling a story is how you can emotionally connect with your audience. This is usually a better option than shoving your product down people’s throats.
Elmer Wheeler, arguably the greatest salesman in the world, rightly said, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.”
How do you know when your neighbour is preparing a prime cut of the juiciest meat available? When you can hear the satisfying sound of fat rendering on the grill. People make purchases because they want to feel a certain way, and that’s exactly what this meaty metaphor is about – sell the promise, not the product.
But us (always hungry) Mutants aren’t the only ones who believe in this the power of storytelling. If you’re looking for examples of campaigns that not only resonated, but drove success, here are three of our favourites hat successfully sold the sizzle:
Watch closely, and you will notice that Apple never mentioned the names of their products in any of their ads. The TV commercials featured 17 icons who very much aligned with Steve Jobs’ definition of the “crazy ones”, but never directly talked about a Macintosh. Instead, Apple aimed to target those who identified as non-conformist, radical or free-spirited. Think Different was the winner of a campaign which propelled Apple Inc to technological and cultural greatness.
Do you remember sobbing countless times to Thai ads, which consistently proved to be tearjerkers? Because we sure do. And we’ve usually always shed tears to what seemed to be a heartbreaking tale, only to be revealed as something completely unexpected. In Unsung Heroes, nearly three minutes are dedicated to portraying an emotional story that compels viewers to delve deep into their lives and themselves what it is they desire the most in life.
Can you believe this brilliant Old Spice campaign is ten years old already? Here’s the best part – instead of targeting its intended audience (straight men), it speaks to the women in their lives. The ads focused on highlighted the macho vibe associated with the product, but never the actual product itself.
Experts prefer to focus on selling the sizzle because it gives them the opportunity to reach a wider, hungrier audience. While you still have to present them with an actual steak, your audiences will be salivating, ready to tear into anything you serve.
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