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Why Your Ads Suck, with Erik J. Olson


Episode #1236

Advertising is getting harder. Listen to Erik share tips on how to make your ads more engaging to the audience in this episode.

June 4, 2022

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Episode Transcript

Erik J. Olson: (00:00)
All right. So we’re gonna talk about advertising and the fact that ads generally suck. Alright. And why do ads suck? So I’m reading through this book, as you can tell, it’s called the end of advertising, which caught my attention. So right off the bat, the author did a very good job with the title and being someone who’s in the advertising business. I wanted to find out what he was talking about. Turns out he was an advertising executive for many, many years. And about maybe four years ago, he started to find out about ad blockers and he installed an ad blocker for himself. And he found it very odd that he was an advertising executive, but he didn’t want to see ads on the internet. He then told his family about it and he got his kids into it. And so he was kind of like in the center of this whole ad blocking scheme, if you will, or like kind of culture when he was right in the middle of a company that was responsible for creating ads. And so it made him really kind of examine a little bit deeper, the things that he’d been doing in the advertising agency and, and his whole advertising career. So there’s a lot of ads that are out there that, that are just bad ads and I’m sure y’all would agree with me. And so I, was just kind of thinking about maybe some bad ads where they kind of jump outta you and they’re yelling at you. And, um, I don’t

Commercial: (01:24)
Know, attention, passive victim, victim, victim. If someone somewhere owes you big, big money, it pays to hire a heavy you, a, a heavy you, a I’m Lowell, the hammer Stanley 4, 5, 9 cash. I’m the Avenger for the injury, the mistreated ignore. I do more to get you more get what’s your cash hammering for victims for 30 years at I’m just getting warmed up and warmed up. I hammer sting, sting, greedy insurance companies for victims like victims. Like you, like you, I will punch them pound, punish the pound. You don’t wanna

Erik J. Olson: (01:55)
See it catchy.

Speaker 2: (01:56)
You don’t wanna see it. And let’s talk about, and let’s talk about

Erik J. Olson: (02:04)
All right. So what do you think as marketers? Right? So there’s an artistic, you know, part of what we do does this resonate with you? Yes. Yeah. That’s it for real? Why?

Speaker 3: (02:20)
Because everything else and the insurance is a hundred percent different than this. And so where everyone else is, we’re gonna make your family great and blah, blah, blah. This guy’s being bold and ridiculous. It might not be for everyone, but everyone in here remembers him. And the first job in marketing is being seen me. He actually does that.

Erik J. Olson: (02:38)
All right. So good point. Would you say he is obnoxious? Yeah. Yeah. And annoying. Yeah. Okay. All so

Speaker 3: (02:45)
I agree with everything you said, but I’ll try

Speaker 4: (02:47)
To that. I would never hire him just for this. So the import, I remember it, but like the accident I

Erik J. Olson: (02:54)
Call him, right? Yeah. What about you? Would you call him?

Speaker 3: (02:58)
I hope I

Erik J. Olson: (02:58)
Never to. all right. So I think you get the point, pretty obnoxious, right? He’s out, out there literally, literally yelling at you, right? So a lot of ads that we see, they’re trying to get our attention and, and they yell at you not quite like this, but they do yell at you. So here’s an example of sensory overload, right? So driving down the street billboards, I was just driving back from Christmas. I went down to Florida and when I drove back, I went up 95 and I was commenting to the guys, basically, as I’m driving, I’m seeing thousands, literally thousands of billboards between Florida and Hampton roads. And it was probably like 10 per mile. It was just nonstop for hundreds of miles. The only ones that were effective, the only billboards that were effective for me were the ones that said, there’s a rest, stop coming up.

Erik J. Olson: (03:52)
Or there’s a stop coming up. And there’s gas where there’s food. And then I would look to see what the gas or food was, basically the ones that the department of transportation put out. But the other ones, the big billboards didn’t catch my attention at all. So for me, at least I was not swayed by seeing thousands of billboards that were aimed right at me. Right. That’s just my personal take. But if you’re not seeing it because you’re driving there now they’re actually driving to you. Right. So we have mobile billboards. So again, they’re kind of shouting at you and they’re just shouting to anybody, right? So Zach’s whole thing with the anomaly is you need to stand out from the crowd and you need to talk to people. Well, I assume you would say that you need to talk to people that want to receive your message.

Erik J. Olson: (04:34)
Do people wanna receive this message? Who knows? Right. Cause it’s not targeted. They’re just broadcasting to anyone that could possibly see it. So as I was getting that screenshot, actually I think the one before this, I actually got a pop-up. Right. So I was looking for something on a particular website, happened to be the picture of the billboards. And I couldn’t even get to it because I got a popup. Right. So not only, you know, are, are we seeing this in our physical lives? We’re clearly seeing it on our online lives. I couldn’t even get to the content that I wanted before I was shouted at. Right. So we’re being, obnoxious, we’re being in people’s faces and we’re starting to ignore it. So just like the author was saying from the book, we’re blocking it out and one way or another, we are blocking it out.

Erik J. Olson: (05:18)
Right. So we’re either installing ad blocker or we’re just completely tuning it out. So, ad blockers, there are lots of different ad blockers out there. Um, Google themselves. And, and this was the CEO Larry Page at the time of the quote in 2015, stated that the industry needs to do a better job of producing ads that are less annoying right now, this is a company that is a hundred percent funded by advertising, right? And they’re basically slamming the advertising industry saying, you need to clean up your act. So, it tells you that not only are consumers over it, the media to a certain extent is kind of over it as well. There is a guy named, uh, Billy Jean, uh, who knows about Billy Jean, Billy Jean is marketing. Uh, he he’s like an Instagram and kind of like a social media guy. But, uh, this is a spoof of an ad where he’s, he’s pretending to be obnoxious.

Erik J. Olson: (06:21)
But his whole thing is that when you have an advertisement and you have three things that you need to do in the advertisement, you need to entertain, you need to educate, and then you need to execute. And by executing means, ask for the sale, right? So advertising has to have a purpose, but first enlighten them and then teach them something and then ask for the sale. So based on all the things that I talked about and, you know, bill of jeans, tenants, you know, I believe that this is what better ads should reflect, right? You don’t want to be annoying. You don’t want to be the advertisement with the fire coming behind you or the bear, right? You don’t wanna be yelling at people. You wanna be less intrusive right now, sometimes advertising can’t help but be intrusive, but you certainly don’t wanna be completely intrusive.

Erik J. Olson: (07:11)
You want to be highly relevant. So the billboards, in my opinion, they’re not targeted. So it, they’re not quite as effective, right? 95%, 99% of the people that pass by it probably doesn’t pertain to maybe 1% it does, but you’re just broadcasting to anybody. You wanna be lighthearted and you wanna have a little bit of fun. So one thing that, that we’ve actually tried in our company that that’s working very well for us and, and really the only tenant that it, it maybe violates is the intrusive part is YouTube pre-rolls. And now you can link Google queries to YouTube pre-rolls. And what I mean by that is if someone is searching for a black clicker in YouTube, then when they go over to I’m sorry, a black clicker in Google. Now there’s the capability that when they go to YouTube to watch a video about anything, they’re going to see a pre-roll video, whether you like it or not, cuz that’s a YouTube system, but you can have your video saying, Hey, are you looking for a black clicker? Do I have a clicker for you? Right. So super relevant because the person just searched for that highly targeted, not that intrusive because you can skip it after three seconds. Then the question is, how do you produce it? Right. Make it lighthearted, make it fun.

Erik J. Olson: (08:38)
This capability’s been out about six months or so, but not a lot of people know about it. So like I said, we’re doing it for our company. And what we did is we came up with one script and we have two placeholders in the script. Placeholder number one is what service is the person looking for based on their Google query. Right? And there’s only a couple that we support things like advertising, SEO, et cetera. And then the other is the location that they search from. Are they searching from Newport News or Virginia Beach, knowing those two pieces of information? We created 32 variations of the video. And so we just shot one after the other, after the other. So we would say, are you looking for SEO in Newport news? If so, I’m your company here? I’m your guy. Are you looking for SEO in Virginia Beach?

Erik J. Olson: (09:27)
If so, I’m your guy. Are you looking for SEO in Norfolk rents and repeat took us. What about two hours to shoot 32 variations of the videos, but based on them going into YouTube, we show the precisely or the, the perfect video for what they queried and where they’re located. So very, very relevant. They already searched for SEO, right? If we show them a video ad for SEO, they want that. And we kept them pretty short. So I’m gonna play an example of one. If you’re looking for SEO in Virginia Beach, then we’re your company. Hi, my name is Eric Olson. I’m the CEO of array digital and we’re right down the street from you, give us a call or go to our website. We wanna work with you. All right. So short, highly targeted, right? A little bit lively.

Erik J. Olson: (10:23)
So I think this is in, in our opinion, this is a good example of an ad. And actually there’s, there’s a lot of aspects about it that we don’t like, and we’re gonna reshoot and make them different. But this was our, our first approach at doing this. And we actually submitted it for an American advertising award. Um, was it Addie? That’s what it is, right. We, we just submitted that. So, um, hopefully we’ll get that. But we, we think that the, the combination of, um, the customization and being relevant and tying these technologies together, could land us the award. We’ll see very easy to shoot these. That was a single take right there. And if we mess up, we’re okay with it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. We want it to be authentic. And again, very short, they could have skipped it after three seconds, but if they watched the whole thing, it was 10 seconds. All right. So to kind of summarize what we did, uh, we feel like it hits all these marks and, uh, and it was very affordable about three to 4 cents per impression. Is that the right number? Yeah. All right. So, uh, it’s, it’s working out so well for us that we’re taking some of our advertising spend in other areas and we’re putting more of it into this.

Speaker 3: (11:36)
So the person was searching digital marketing Chesapeake. Is that what? Yeah. And that was that we have

Erik J. Olson: (11:41)
One you got, then we have one that says that. Yeah, exactly. Yep. Yep. Cool. So takeaways, um, you know, advertisers just getting harder. Uh, people are bombarded with ads and so they’re annoyed. They’re taking matters into their own hands. They’re installing ad blockers. They are actively ignoring your advertisements. You have to do something a little bit different, right? Don’t be annoying. Make sure that your message is relevant. Um, like Billy Jean is marketing says you should probably entertain and then educate and then ask for the sale and just have a little bit of fun. All right. Any questions?

Speaker 6: (12:19)
Have a question.

Erik J. Olson: (12:20)
Yeah.

Speaker 6: (12:21)
How long does your, like they Google the black cooker and then they go to YouTube. How long does it stay with them or fall around or

Erik J. Olson: (12:30)
Try, how long can we show our video ad for it’s? Well, I’ll let Jake answer.

Speaker 5: (12:35)
Um, we’re doing roughly 30 days right now. OK.

Speaker 6: (12:41)
Is it cookie based? Are you guys cookies? Is that how you’re following that?

Speaker 5: (12:44)
Um, they’re called custom or video audiences. So it’s a combination of different actions that they took online. Some of which is the search, Google that keyword, Google compiles, that audience and search. So it’s not

Erik J. Olson: (13:12)
Cool. Any other questions before I hand it over? All right. Thanks.

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About The Hosts


  • Erik J. Olson is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. The Founder & CEO of Array Digital, he is also the host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.

  • Kevin Daisey is an award-winning digital marketer & entrepreneur. He started his first company when he was just 23, and is the Founder & CMO of Array Digital. Kevin is the also the co-host of the Journey to $100 Million Flash Briefing and daily podcast, and the co-organizer of the Marketers Anonymous monthly meetups.

Website Design, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Online Advertising, Social Media & Digital Marketing.
© Array Digital LLC

Website Design, Online Advertising, SEO, Social Media & Digital Marketing.
© Array Digital LLC