The Context Matters

A couple of weeks ago, while visiting Colorado, I noticed a number of people advertising their businesses on their cars to varying degrees of success.  It made me think that while you do get a lot of people looking at your “ad”, you are also providing a lot of context about your company based on the car you are driving and the message of the ad.

Here is one example:

Refinish Your Furniture

Ken has an antique stripping business and he drives a van that is partially stripped already.  My guess is that most people who have “old” furniture that needs refinishing cheaply might call Ken, but anyone looking for valuable “antique” refinishing, is not likely to call Ken based on this advertisement (and also might be frightened when he showed up to pick up the furniture.)  He gets his information out there, but the context seems to be a belittle the message.

Here is another example:

Make your Own Corporate Identity

Coidco is in the business of doing “Corporate Identity Consulting”.  This is the guy you turn to when you need a new image, when you want to establish your brand to take you to the next level, when you need to be identified differently.  The first question I always look for when considering a marketing consultant is, “How does he market himself”? So, how is Coidco doing on it’s identity.  So, they called their company Coidco. Doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue and the sounds that it makes sound something like coy, cod or an awful lot like void.  Not exactly the best connotations going with the non-word they creatively constructed from the first two letters of each of the words in their slogan.  So, creative branding doesn’t seem to be their strong suit.  All of this finally ended with his dog and kennel in the back of his truck. Perhaps they do a great job on other people’s identities, but they should probably do a little more work with their own.

Every time we decide to send out a message about ourselves or our businesses, the context matters.  Information simply does not exist in a vacuum, and if the context conflicts with the message, your going to confuse your audience.  That said, these two both managed to be remarkable, and as some would say, any press is good press.







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