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Ad Gone Wrong

In: Business and Management

Submitted By jakeuniversity
Words 1842
Pages 8
INTRODUCTION ………………………………………………………………………. 2 * Message Chosen for In-Depth MTS analysis * Overall Findings and Recommendations
METHODOLOGY ....…………………………………………………………………….. 3, 4
READERS AND CONTEXT OF USE ……………………………………………… 5 * Primary and Secondary Audience * Context of Use
CONTENT ANALYSIS ………………………………………………………………… 6
OUTSIDE SUPPORT …………………………………………………………………….. 7
RECOMMENDATIONS …………………………………………………………………... 7
DISCUSSION ……………………………………………………………………………… 8
CONCLUSION …………………………………………………………………………….. 8
REFERENCES ……………………………………………………………………………. 9

This report examines the main reasons why certain messages “stick” and are memorable, compared to those messages that don’t. The purpose of this report is to show an example of a not so successful commercial, and how it could be revised to make it successful.
Message Chosen for In-Depth MTS analysis
The message I have chosen is a commercial for Life Alert, showing an older woman appearing to have fallen down stairs screaming for help. Although it could have been a successful commercial, the way they went about it gives off a very creepy and dark appearance, making it an unsuccessful commercial. Below I have posted the link to my message. * (LifeAlert, 2014)

Overall Findings and Recommendations
Although this message did meet some of the needed criteria in order to be sticky, it missed out on three very important ones. As you will see in the following paragraphs I have recommended that the author of the original message change the over dramatized scenario with something that has actually happened, giving a sense of comfort knowing that their product works.

The methods I used to conduct research for this paper can be found in the Made to Stick book, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. The six steps discussed throughout their book can be seen listed below, and I will discuss how each stepped helped form my research. * Simple * Unexpected * Concrete * Credible * Emotion * Stories
Starting off with the first step “Simple”, the main idea behind this is that you make the message simple enough so that it can be easily remembered. A good way to make this successful is by prioritizing the way you present your intended message, for example you wouldn’t want to have all your important information right at the beginning, otherwise it could be potentially forgotten by the end of your message.
Next is Unexpected, which in way is making your message interesting and something the intended audience wasn’t expecting so it gains their attention. A good way of doing this is by giving a knowledge gap, which hopefully draws in your intended audience and makes them curious about what is coming next.
Concrete, meaning that the message you are trying to portray paints a vivid picture in your intended audience’s head, and that they cannot picture your intended message any other way then how you intend.
Credibility wise you want to portray your message in a way that connects to your audience’s own life without giving hard facts or numbers. An example given in the Made to Stick book was about how “Ronald Reagan asked Americans in a televised presidential debate, “are you better off than you were 4 years ago?” The “evidence” was alive in each audience member’s mind. Credibility was built into the message” (Heath, 2008).
The second to last step is Emotion, meaning if you want someone to care about the message you are trying to portray then make them feel a certain way. An example given in the heath brother’s book was “Projecting a positive future motivates behavior” (Heath, 2008).
The last step being Stories, which always helps the intended audience remember the message because it was in a story format and easy to re-tell. The Heath Brother’s stated “A story format combines all five other principles of stickiness and helps us process and remember new information” (Heath, 2008).

Readers and Context of Use
Primary and Secondary Audience
As stated in the Business Writers Companion, “your primary or most important readers- such as those who will make decisions based on the document- and be sure to meet their needs” (Alred, 2010). The primary audience of the message I have chosen I believe to be elderly citizens, because Life Alert is mainly intended for elderly citizens who could not help themselves in the event of an accident. The secondary audience is stated to be “those readers who are not the primary addressee, but are still included as viewer” (Alred, 2010). I believe this audience to be people that are almost at the point in their life where they would consider getting Life Alert in the coming future, but not at the present time.
Context of Use
As written in the Business Writers Companion “When you write a proposal to fund a project within your company, the economic condition of that company is part of the context that will determine how your proposal is received” (Alred, 2010). I found this to be useful because when looking at certain messages you can tell what the company is trying to achieve. With the message I have chosen, you can sort of tell with the strong actor portrayal that they might be trying a new way of gaining business through emotion. Also stated in the Business writers companion “the events that prompted you to write shape the context of the message and will affect what you say and how you say it” (Alred, 2010). So with the message I have chosen they start with an actor portrayal of situation in which LifeAlert could be useful, and then cut to all the facts about LifeAlert. By the company portraying all the information after the scene you can tell that they are trying to sell their product by showing why you would need LifeAlert.
Content Analysis
As stated previously there are six steps that the Heath Brothers believe to be key in making a message stick, Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and Stories. I believe my message to be unsuccessful because it did not meet Simple, Unexpected, and Credible steps that the heath brothers have gone over.
The reason the message I have chosen does not meet the Simple category is because I believe they did a poor job of prioritizing the way they laid out the information. The beginning is so overdramatized that the viewer either didn’t finish the commercial all the way, or you only remember the actor portrayal rather than the information itself.
I believe my message does not fit the unexpected category because there is nothing that creates a knowledge gap so to say. The commercial starts off right away with filling a knowledge gap that hasn’t even been created in the first place, so this commercial doesn’t do a good job of grabbing your attention and because of the over dramatization people tend to be offended by it.
This message does not fit the credible category because it gives a very over dramatized situation, in which a small percentage of their intended audience has actually been through. They also show an actor portrayal of a horrible situation rather than showing specific people who have benefited from their product, making it hard to relate to and distancing yourself from potential customers.

Outside Support
I found a couple articles talking about the message I have chosen, and it supports my belief that this commercial was unsuccessful. Below I will list several statements from different articles I have found about my message. * “This LifeAlert Ad Is Creepier Than American Horror Story” (Northrup, 2014) * “Remove the "Basement" commercial” (Smith, 2014) * “Life Alert's New Ad Is Terrifying, and People Are Not Happy About It” (Beltrone, 2014)
By reviewing these articles it is obvious that the company’s message was not received the way they intended, and I believe this strongly correlates with the missing SUCCES criteria. In the MTS book they state “The first requirement of effective communication is getting attention, the second is keeping it” (Heath, 2008). By the way they go about their commercial it does not effectively draw in your attention, and by the reviews I have read it does the complete opposite.
The first category my message did not meet was the simple category, they could majorly improve on this if they started off the commercial with LifeAlert being seen clearly rather than it be the scene of a horror movie. If they showed what LifeAlert provides and maybe a few examples of real life occurrences of how it has helped people, than I believe it would fit the simple category. The way it could improve on the unexpected category would be if they surprised the audience in some way, rather than having just a bland commercial. Also by creating a knowledge gap so it draws in the attended audience’s interest, and avoid being something they view as “common sense” so they are more likely to pay attention. Lastly, they should show actual events that have happened in real life and not just made up actor portrayals. Show that LifeAlert actually helps because it has helped elsewhere, the intended audience will feel as if they are missing out because it has been proven to be successful.
I do believe that the MTS book does offer a valid method for analyzing and improving a message, because by using what I have found in the book I believe I successfully dissected the message I chose. I went over the six characteristics for making a message sticky, and applied them to this message in which I believe would make it a lot more successful than it was. As far as weaknesses and important elements missed out on, I cannot think of what else could have been added. I really don’t think there is a weakness in the way they went about it, and everything they have covered does create a sticky message.
Overall, I believe if everyone simply just went over these steps when trying to create a “sticky” message, than commercials like the one I have chosen would never have been produced. The original creator of the message could benefit greatly by the information I provided throughout this paper, because they could have connected with their intended audience on a more personal level and have been able to sell their idea in a more catchy way. I believe the message has a good foundation and could be a very successful message if a few things were changed, just remember SUCCES.

Alred, G. J. (2010). The Business Writer's Companion. New York: Bedford/St. Martin's.
Beltrone, G. (2014, August 27). Life Alert's New Ad Is Terrifying, and People Are Not Happy About It . Retrieved from ADWEEK:
Heath, C. a. (2008). Made to Stick. Random House.
LifeAlert. (2014, May 10). Life Alert Commercial 2014 - Basement | DRTV Commercial. Retrieved from Youtube:
Northrup, L. (2014, August 26). LifeAlert. Retrieved from Consumerist :
Smith, J. (2014, May 10). Remove the "Basement" commercial. Retrieved from

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