Our Plumbers, 100% Steroid Free.

Our Plumbers, 100% Steroid Free.


I was driving down the road a few days ago, when I passed a sign that made me stop (not literally of course) and think. It read something like this:

“Our plumbers, 100% steroid free.”

What???? Why would anyone care that a plumber doesn’t use steroids? Does it affect job performance? How does this have any bearing on anything?

Then I realized, the ad was simply designed to catch my eye and to keep me thinking about it. Well, it succeeded at that, but it failed in it’s ultimate goal – as I spent so much time wondering how steroid use impacts plumbing that I have no idea which plumbing company was the advertiser.

I see similar ads all over the place. I see more and more radical headlines, company names and colors than ever before. Usually, the “attention getter” makes literally no sense whatsoever (like the plumbing ad), and is simply created in a desperate attempt to get noticed.

I say, take an extra hour of brainstorming to uncover what stands out and would interest people about your company, instead of just throwing out whatever you think will get people to look. I will notice something out of place on an ad (until it’s so common that it gets ignored too), but I won’t be impressed that a company spent it’s ad budget to tell me something nonsensical.

What if the plumbing company had instead said “Our plumbers wear belts,” accompanied by a picture of a plumber leaning over a sink and not flashing himself at the drivers passing by the sign?

Instead of a minute spent wondering why plumbers would use steroids in the first place, I’d spend 10 seconds smiling about the companies’ sense of humor. Their ability to poke fun at one of the biggest stereotypes in their industry (and consequently themselves) would go a lot further for me than some ill-planned ad simply designed to catch my attention.

And in the end, which is more effective? Is it the minute spent thinking not about your company, but an ad that doesn’t make sense? Or is it the 10 seconds spent reflecting on a humorous ad, one that gives the viewer a shot at also remembering the name of the company, instead of just the ad?

I want a company with a sense of humor, not one that deliberately makes no sense in an effort to get my attention.

Anyone else with me on this one? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

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