Two Important Lessons Your Business Can Learn From a Failed MetroPCS Marketing Campaign
On RT 46 near my house in New Jersey, there’s a MetroPCS billboard pictured above.
Whenever I drive to my office (aka Starbucks) I’m confronted with this distinctly off-code piece of advertising. It bothers me that there was an entire advertising team working on delivering this message to the masses and no one noticed how divergent and even divisive this billboard really is.
Let’s reverse engineer the data on this billboard and see if we can find where they went wrong. More importantly, what lessons can we take away from this and apply to our marketing and business efforts.
What MetroPCS did Right/Safe
They used primary colors (red, white and blue) as their color schema. This is both boring, safe, as well as not-so-subtle shot at appearing patriotic.
Also, their design is NOT overwhelming. Big, simple letters, easy to read, no clutter. Very nice.
What MetroPCS did Wrong
This is the interesting part to me. And if you don’t mind, I’d like to dissect this from the bottom up.
No contract sounds like a fine marketing strategy. It hits the right buying triggers. We are not tethered, we are free, we have no obligations, we can change our minds at any time.
The target audience for this trigger are young males. Often students, drug dealers, transients, people in transition, secret agents (or people who think of themselves as such) and similar.
On it’s own, this would make for a powerful buying trigger, however. Coupled with the “Even Pricing” cost of the service, it makes for a distinctly off-code piece of advertising.
Not $40-ish. $40.
Even Pricing is a marketing and sales tactic reserved for items who are perceived as luxury.
You will never walk into a jewelry store an see an engagement ring priced at $4995.98. What you WILL see is $5000.00
Conversely, you will never walk into a Wallmart, and see a 28′ TV priced at $500.00. It will always be something like $499.97. (in marketing circles, this is known as Odd Pricing.)
The target audience for Even Pricing (aka Luxury Pricing) are folks preoccupied with status, the pursuit of status, and display of….status.
Secret Agents Don’t Care About Status
When you combine “No Contract” with Luxury Pricing, you get a billboard that is at odds with itself.
On one hand, its trying to appeal to the transient, commitment-averse, drug-dealer in all of us; on the other, it’s sending a message that what we’re buying is a luxury item.
The transient is not looking to buy a luxury item in a throw away phone.
Know Your Buyer
If you’re selling to everyone, you’re selling to no one. Know your buyer. Know him well. Know him intimately. Know him thoroughly. Know him Biblically. Know him better than you know yourself.
And for God’s sake, don’t send him mixed messages. Don’t confuse him. Don’t appeal to his transient side only to try and appeal to the sense of status in a transient’s bag on a stick.
It doesn’t work. It only serves to create mental static which causes the prospect to give up and go someplace else, less confusing.
Unlimited talk, text, web.
- Do you think this could have been arranged in a better way and made more effective?
- How would YOU arrange it and why?