Give Your Customers an Excuse to Buy Your Product

Don’t get me wrong, I love my DVR.  With an ever-changing schedule of evening networking opportunities each week, I’d never be able to keep up with my favorite shows without it.  However, it may be the marketing enthusiast’s worst enemy, as it makes it much too easy to miss new and interesting commercials.

Last week, I had just finished writing my recap of the L2 GenerationNext Forum when I sat down to watch an evening of TV (live for once!)  Most of the commercials were one that I had seen countless times before, but one was new to me and reflected nicely some of the themes of the forum.  It was an Acura ad with the tagline “there are excuses to spend money on luxury, and then there are reasons.”

You can also check out ads listing excuses for buying a tube amp, a watch, and a pool table online.  These were all sampled for the one I’ve embedded above. (I especially love the watch ad.)

The tagline reminded me of some comments by Sterling Lanier at the conference, specifically his thoughts on “rational exuberance” and luxury as investment.  As consumers moved to a need for justifying their excesses (whether it’s due to a changing zeitgeist or just because of increasing economic hardship), it’s critical that companies recognize that people are moving away from buying luxury for luxury’s sake.  The successful companies will be the ones who use their advertisements to save the consumer the effort of making his or her own justification.

In fewer words: Your customers are going to make an excuse to buy a product.  Why not save them the trouble and give them an excuse to buy yours?

(In case anyone wants to comment on the fact that the ad is clearly aimed at boomers and not Generation Y, I’ll direct you to Jane Buckingham’s comments at the same forum.  Trends are cyclical, so embrace of justification by an older generation does not proscribe the importance of justification in emerging affluent consumers.)

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