When should you be in your own commercials?

Mirror For the last couple days, we've explored why it's usually not a good idea for business owners to star in their own marketing materials.   As with all things in the marketing world, there are of course, exceptions.

There are a couple circumstances when you need to be the face of your organization.

1)  If you are small enough that you ARE the business:  If you are a solo consultant or shopkeeper and your customers interface with you and only you – don't have someone else stand in for you.  (Note: In this case, odds are you shouldn't be on TV at all!)

2)  If your brand position is that you're THE expert in your field:  If you possess some specialized expertise or credentials that form the basis for your position in the marketplace, then you need to be careful that you don't accidentally misrepresent that.  (Again, hard to imagine that TV or radio are your best options if this is the case.)

This gets to the comment Gavin Heaton posted in one of the earlier posts.  Where do podcasts, vlogs, etc. come into this.  When you are imparting information, sharing knowledge, teaching etc. — then it is perfectly appropriate to be the star.  It's also appropriate for you to sound like you, with the occasional "um" or slip of the tongue.

3)  If you are of "celebrity" status in your community or field:  This is a tricky one.  Many of us may think we're more famous than perhaps we are.  If you have a spouse or friend who is brutally honest – ask them. 

Just to clarify – I am not saying you can't or shouldn't use professional talent.  I am saying that in these specific circumstances, you may be better off representing yourself.   If your radio or TV spot is coming from the consumer's voice or is from a broader perspective, then by all means use the pros.

The bottom line is still the same.  99% of the time, you having the starring role in your own marketing is not sending the message you want to send.  Don't take my word for it. The e-mails and comments on this topic were about 100 to 1 in favor of you not doing it.

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6 comments on “When should you be in your own commercials?

  1. Robyn says:

    Drew, your words are really wise. Remember, “Pride goes before a fall.” 😉

  2. Dan Schawbel says:

    I think we need to put ego’s aside when making a commercial. Do people really want to see the CEO? No, they want to see the product or service and maybe even a customer testimonial.

  3. Susan Plunkett says:

    I smiled at this topic. I’m an Australian and there have been some classic ads here with the business owners being the star of their own ads. Nads the hair removal product is one and that works because it is a family concern and now the daughters are taking over from their mother who was the originator of the product. The ads are tasteful re the presence and the ladies do provide a sense of connectivity and warmth.

    We’ve had some garish ads with owners appearing in straw hat and boater style – ads you don’t forget easily.

    Then there was an ad where the owner decided he was not only going to star but actually write and produce. Well, ok, yes, well….

    The issue here was that sometimes what we think is funny is not what the populace currently thinks is funny. There’s nothing like being caught in an 80’s time warp and thinking everyone else is there with you also 🙂

  4. Robyn,

    “prides goes before a fall”

    So true. Do you see a shift in today’s 20 somethings, as they grow up in social media which has such a strong collaborative spirit built in?

    Do you think we’ll see less evidence of this than in previous generations?


  5. Dan,

    It’s really recognizing that every consumer is wondering what’s in it for them. And if we can’t tell them that — they stop listening.


  6. Susan,

    Often times, the owners get hoodwinked. No one has the courage to tell them that they stink and are making fools of themselves.

    Instead everyone tells them how great they look/sound. Sort of a emperor’s new clothes situation.


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