I noticed a targeted advertisement of a prominent beverage brand a few weeks ago. I paid attention the first time I saw it – rather than the sixth – because of an error in the ad’s copy.
The ad attempted to identify with the audience on a personal level by indicating that this beverage would be the highlight of their morning after sitting in grueling traffic on the Beltway. The ad had two mistakes. The first mistake, which has since been corrected, was that it referred to the Beltway as I-495. No one in the greater Washington area refers to the congested loop that surrounds our nation’s capital as I-495. I was immediately aware that this ad had been versioned for this target market by someone who happened to dig up a highway map in a land far, far away.
The second mistake was in ad placement. The ad appears in Union Station and in several major Metro stations around Washington, D.C. I saw the ad when commuting into Washington from my home in Manhattan by train. I didn’t understand how they expected to connect with me and the thousands of other train commuters by hinting at highway congestion. In my experience, customer No. 1 of Metro is a suburban dweller that specifically has an aversion to traffic and prefers mass transit to windshield time when commuting into work. Train commuters know not of this traffic on I-495 to which you refer, beverage company.
Why would they now drink your product? You clearly don’t know who they are.
By Joe Bisagna