What Smilin’ Bob, the Enzyte guy, taught me about advertising

June 26, 2007

When I am in New York, I work. I also work when I am not in New York, but I work especially hard when I am here. I work until dark and then I go eat. And as things go, since the advent of the Blackberry, it is actually quite hard to stop working even when I am not working. Last night was no exception.

On my mind these days (and nights) is advertising. Will the :30 second spot prevail? Would a :05 spot repeated over-and-over-and-over-and-over work? I don’t know. Should we brand the player? Not sure. Why not bring back soap opera type sponsorships? Maybe we should. Should we all just start to think more like direct marketers? You bet.

So, back to last night. Most nights I stop for a beer and a burger at the very same bar near my apartment. Call me boring. Call me a creature of habit. Call me late for dinner…. It is my goal to become the modern day equivalent of Normmmm… Like advertising, my strategy is repetition.

So, back to last night. As we all know, beer comes in pints. True, you can get those schooner-sized monster beers, but those typically aren’t the staple of middle-aged men going to work the next day. Or they shouldn’t be. Well, last night it wasn’t just my Blackberry that kept me working, it was my beer. My pint glass had an ad on it. Effective? I couldn’t help but wonder.

So as I drank my pint and ate my burger, I got to thinking. Perhaps I should take a part of every day and think about advertising. Perhaps I should look at the subtle ways people advertise. Since ads have now reached me at dinner, perhaps advertising nirvana isn’t that far out there. So I set a goal. Tomorrow (now today) I would start looking for ads. Well, I didn’t have to look too hard.

Today – 5:45 in the health center.

My apartment is in the Garment District in New York not too far from our Times Square HQ. What that means is a mix of designers, models, writers, students and me. When I arrived, there were a half dozen young starlets working out. The only open machine was the elliptical situated right between all of the girls.

My advertising radar is on and has been since leaving the joint last night. Right in front of us is a Samsung television with a Motorola set-top box. How do I know this? Because their logos are so prominent you can’t avoid them. Effective? They must be. Is it a form of advertising? I think so.

Interestingly, the television is tuned to ESPN2, the Deuce. Since I fell asleep before securing the Tigers score last night, I focus in on the television. Around me the girls are reading magazines and managing to run simultaneously. Quite a trick… They hardly ever look up.

Then comes Smilin’ Bob. You know him? I didn’t until this morning. Picture this. Me, six super-models reading magazines whilst running and Smilin’ Bob. I had the television all to myself until Bob. Bob is the Bob from Enzyte. Bob is the enemy of all who dare workout in a gym full of women. Bob never quits smiling. In fact, because he takes Enzyte he drives a golf ball nearly 400 yards. He also wins NASCAR races. Bob finishes his lawn work before his neighbor. Bob’s wife loves him more than the others guys’ wives love them. Bob’s :30 spot felt like an eternity. I was certain all eyes were dashing between me, the only man in the gym, and Bob the Enzyte guy. I felt about an inch tall, almost inadequate, so to speak. Bob though, is always smiling. He is enormously happy. 

Well, as things go, Bob came back again and again. Me and the girls saw the same message over-and-over-and-over. It ran six times during my 40 minute workout. I feel like I came to know Bob. Bob represents all men: NASCAR, golf, happy wife, and just an all around guy we all want to be like. So happy is he that his smile appears stuck on his face.

Bob did get me to thinking. Was Bob’s money well spent reaching the starlets which flanked me? Probably not, though I have to admit it was interesting having all eyes on me as they watched me watch the ad  over-and-over-and-over… Did repetition work? Not for me, but according to the ad there are 3 million Bob’s who drive cars, golf balls and do other things better than me. Repetition is one thing, but targeting, repetitive targeting is quite another. That is the key.

In the future of connected entertainment, perhaps I won’t have Bob to bring all eyes onto me in the workout room. Perhaps they weren’t looking at me at all and the girls just happened to think Bob was cute. I mean who wouldn’t? By day, he hits monster drives at the club and on Friday nights he’s a NASCAR champ. He is the perfect man. He is loved by all who know him. He is bigger than life.

Advertising is a necessary thing. If you sit down, regardless of your surroundings, whether it be on the pint glass in your hand, or just wherever it is you sit right now, there is probably some form of advertising working on you. Effective? I think so. Intrusive? Not really. We are used to it. Targeted? In some cases. I think the Internet will gravitate this way. It must. So my search for the right balance of effective advertising continues. It is 8:30 AM ET. Bob, the Enzyte guy has probably already knocked off work for the day and is at the course hitting monster drives, straight drives. He probably only needs a driver, wedge and a putter to shoot even par. What a guy. Me? I haven’t figured things out yet…but I am close.