The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 9, 2014

Mike Pound: Don’t overthink advertising — or newspaper columns

Some people overthink TV advertising.

It seems to me that if you want to sell a product on TV, you hold up whatever it is you’re selling, and tell people it’s good and explain why it’s good. If people believe you, then your commercial worked. If they don’t, it didn’t.

The thing is, the best way to sell something — again it seems to me — is to be confident that what you’re selling is worth selling. If you’re not confident, you have to resort to what a former TV boss of mine used to call “weasel words.” When you resort to those, it’s easier to overthink your advertising strategy.

One of the most famous cases of overthinking advertising strategy occurred in the 1960s, when some ad agency folks thought it would make a cool commercial if they put a car they were trying to sell on a tall rock tower in some desert out west. It did make for a cool commercial, but there was one problem: Everyone was so taken by the fact that someone was able to get a car on the rock tower that no one could remember anything about the car except that it was on the tower.

That’s overthinking your advertising strategy.

I mention this because lately I’ve been seeing another car commercial in which, I think, advertising strategy has been overthought.

Although I’ve seen the commercial many times in the past few weeks, I have no idea who makes the car, which is sort of a problem.

In the commercial, the car is carrying four people. A guy in the passenger seat looks at the woman driving and says, “We’re going to be late!” The woman smiles, says that they won’t be late, puts the car in gear, drives a few feet and then somehow makes the car fly through the air and land on a train. Because the car is riding on top of a train, the driver beats all the traffic and gets to her company parking lot in time for work.

The first time I saw the commercial, I remember thinking: “Wow, that car can fly and land on a train. I need to get two of those.”

But, the second time I saw the commercial, I noticed a message on the bottom of the screen. The message said something like this: “Cars can’t land on trains. Don’t try this.”

At first I was disappointed, because I had always wanted to land a car on a train and ride it across town. But then I was sort of irritated. I thought to myself: Why would someone make a commercial that basically says, “You should buy this car because it can ride on the top of a train,” and then, in the same commercial, say, “Cars can’t ride on trains”?

Have you ever seen a commercial where a guy in a bar orders a beer, takes a few sips and then suddenly starts flying around fighting crime like Superman while an announcer says, “Drink Super Suds. It will make you fly like Superman,” while at the same time a message appears on the screen that says, “People can’t fly like Superman. Don’t try this”?

Of course not. And do you know why you haven’t seen a commercial like that? Because it would be stupid, that’s why. And there would also be a liability issue because sometimes people who drink too much beer do really stupid things.

But I think you get my point.

Now, if there are any advertising executives out there who disagree with this column and feel an urge to dash off a nasty email, you probably should stop for a second.

You’re overthinking this column.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0420earthday.jpg Prairie State Park kicks off Earth Day events

    Prairie State Park began celebrating Earth Day early with an event Saturday that provided a chance for people of all ages to learn more about how they can protect the environment.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Catholic schools to hold annual spring auction

    The Joplin Area Catholic Schools spring auction will be staged Saturday at the Jack Lawton Webb Convention Center, 5300 S. Range Line Road in Joplin.

    April 19, 2014

  • Wally Kennedy MUG72.jpg Wally Kennedy: Another pizza choice and ice cream on the way

    A new pizza restaurant is coming to the northwest corner of Stone’s Corner in the Village of Airport Drive. Piez is opening this week in a storefront that formerly housed Quincy Magoo’s, 6039 N. Main Street Road, which has been closed for more than two years.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • mike pound_cnhi .jpg Mike Pound: No more hiding Easter eggs or emotions

    Well, that’s a wrap on the Easter egg hunts. For about 15 years we have staged not one, but two Easter egg hunts for our now 16-year-old daughter, Emma.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 Wedding1_72.jpg VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends

    A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • r041614giregabby.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support

    When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
    Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Enrollment open for Joplin summer school

    Enrollment is now open for the Joplin school district’s summer school session, which will run Wednesday, June 4, though Tuesday, July 1.

    April 19, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

Must Read


Missouri Republicans are considering a new approach to prevent federal agents from enforcing laws the state considers to be infringements on gun rights: barring them from future careers in state law enforcement agencies. Do you think this proposal has merit?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter