TV Advertising in the Age of Authenticity


By:  Karen Pelletier

You may have seen the commercial for Ally Bank where a woman is showing off her Dalmatian’s speech prowess by coaxing her dog to say “We love our bank!”  The prospective boyfriend recoils and looks askance, as if to say, is this chick crazy?  We recoil too because this commercial (and the whole campaign) doesn’t give us any reason to believe it’s true.  What a waste of advertising dollars.

In this era of authenticity in social media we have come to expect substantiation for claims, and we do our research before we buy.  Testimonials, ratings, and reviews are the currency of our age.  Customers value them much more than unsubstantiated claims.  According to Nielsen, 90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, 70% trust recommendations from consumer opinions posted online, but only 62% trust TV ads.  And according to data from IRI’s Economic Longitude 2009 study, 83% of shoppers are doing research and making their purchase decisions prior to entering a store.

Hyundai executed an authentic campaign beautifully with hidden camera video of people testing driving the car.  They are real consumers experiencing the car’s ride and handling, and exclaiming in delight over the luxury and amenities the car offers for a great price.  This ad is believable and compelling.  When I need a new car, I’ll remember that ad and go check out Hyundai.

State Farm executed a great campaign using testimonials of their clients’ mishaps and their State Farm agent who bailed them out, sometimes going to extraordinary measures like underwater diving.  The use of testimonials was fun and compelling and showcased State Farm agents’ commitment to go the distance for their customers.

Infomercial producers have known, forever, how important testimonials are to the success of their products.  Oxyiclean, Proactive Anti-Acne treatments, even the George Forman Grill all used testimonials to build broader retail distribution and consumer sales.

Ally, dump this stupid campaign.  It’s time to get real.

Do you agree or disagree?  Let me know.


About Karen Pelletier

Karen Pelletier is an independent Marketing Consultant. She has over 30 years of experience in consumer packaged goods, new product development, technology marketing, and Internet Marketing. She can be reached at
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One Response to TV Advertising in the Age of Authenticity

  1. Pingback: El Secreto de un Restaurante Magnético » FMOT o ZMOT

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