There are two types of advertising: the ones that prominently show products, and the ones that tell you a story. Though there is a time and place for featuring your products – and maybe even aggressively highlighting them – telling a story is usually the method that will allow your brand to make an emotional connection with your audience, and is often a better solution to a branding problem than shoving your product in front of people.
As Elmer Wheeler – arguably the greatest salesman in the world – put it, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.”
One of the biggest reasons why people buy something is because they want to feel a certain way, and that’s exactly what this meaty metaphor is about.
What tells you that your neighbour is cooking up a prime cut? There’s a high chance it’s nothing more than the satisfying sound of fat rendering on the grill. That’s the mechanism of selling the sizzle: 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 with people, but were massively, here are three of our favourites that successfully sold the sizzle:
Did you notice that Apple never once mentioned any of their products in this ad? The TV commercials featured 17 iconic personalities who exemplified Steve Jobs’ definition of “the crazy ones”, but never a Macintosh. Instead, Apple sold inspiration, radical thinking. Think Different was the very campaign that rocketed Apple Inc. into the tech-marketing giant we know today.
Honestly, many Thai ads live up to the idea of selling the sizzle. We can’t count the number of times we’ve laughed or cried to an emotional Thai ad, only to find out that it’s for an unexpected brand or product. In Unsung Heroes, almost all 3 minutes of the commercial are dedicated solely to tell an emotional story that begs its viewers to ask themselves, “What is it that you desire the most (in life)”?
This brilliant Old Spice campaign (can you believe it’s 10 years old already?) was not targeted to its audience – straight men – but to the women in their lives. Rather than convincing men to purchase their products, the ads were instead designed specifically to be tongue-in-cheek about the selling the macho vibe associated with Old Spice, but never the product.
The experts prefer to sell the sizzle because it gives them the opportunity to reach a wider and more famished audience. Of course, at the end of it all, you do have to present them with an actual steak – but by then, your audience will already be salivating, ready to dig into anything you serve!
Want to make your brand irresistible? Let’s chat at mutant.com.my!