Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Third Party Frenzy

During economic down times consumers become skeptical of companies selling to them. As a counter to this protectionist way of thinking two companies have gone to third party companies to back up their claims and supply extra credibility. They combine the reputation of the third party companies with a simple to understand main idea. By doing this they lower the iron curtain of skepticism and allow the consumer to see the benefits that are being offered.

This T-Mobile commercial has a simple premise. People are paying too much for their cell phones. They wrap the message in comedic packaging with the story of sending auditors to people’s houses to show them how much they are over spending. And when that doesn’t work, they send in their beautiful spokesperson. The comedic topping to the commercial does a nice job of making you smile, but the main idea is what really sticks with you. T-Mobile will save you money and you don’t have to listen to us, check out billshrink.com for proof.

The Honda commercial works off the same idea as the T-Mobile commercial. They give you the reasons why people buy Honda and stay with Honda. They focus on rational reasons to buy a Honda which work well during down economic times. But since they are so heavy on rational reasons they need some back up to prove they are a good as they say they are. They decided to go with Edmunds.com to prove their story. This third party reinforcement is even a little stronger than T-Mobile’s because Edmunds to more well know and will grab the attention of the consumer easier.

Both of these companies are saying, we have a better product and will save you money and we can prove it. This is a very strong message in a time like this.

What do you think about these spots? Does it matter which third party proof a company uses if they choose to go this route?



  1. Twice now, I have noticed that you have said, 'people don't like being sold to during a recession.' I'm curious, do you have any research saying that or are you making an assumption? (Im a big fan of research)
    I tend to believe that selling during a recession doesn't upset people, more that they just don't have the cash to spend so the message needs to be different.
    I do feel that during these times the message needs to be stronger, more value focused, in order to work. I would think [just assuming] that the only message that would truly irk the public would be one where the company flaunts a 'sale' or 'good value' that is truly not. I know I don't want my time to be wasted with a lame excuse for an offer, I would prefer seeing a straight branding spot that serves as a reminder during a down time.
    But, yes, I agree, third-party buy-in is a great tactic. It's one thing to tell people how great you are, it's another if someone else is willing to do that for you.

  2. Good point. I don't have any research to back this up. It's a poor choice of wording on my part. I don't think people will become upset by someone trying to "sell" to them. I just think in this economy people are more likely to listen to a value message instead of a "selling" message.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  3. That's cool, I often state my opinion as fact! Of course my Creative Director doesn't really take, "I just think..." as valid backing for a creative direction. So I always try to back everything up with statistics. (Not accusing, just stating that I am equally guilty).
    I think advertising should always have a value/benefit message at it's core. Sometimes you have to look hard in current ads to find it, but usually, it's there.
    I don't like 'selling for selling sake.' You can tell someone they need something all day long, but unless you fill in the blanks and give them the reason, you add nothing to the conversation.