What made Seinfeld one of the best television shows ever? A big part of it was his ability to based an entire episode on an everyday observation. Over the run of the show, this method gave viewers such memorable moments as double dipping (taking a bite and then redipping the chip into the dip) and Festivus (a made up holiday for the non-religious to celebrate during the “holiday season”). Seinfeld stood out because every episode expanded on some quirky truth about life we already knew but never thought about.
How effective could your marketing message be if you managed to relate it to an observation like those on Seinfeld? There was a perfect example I saw on television last week for an unlikely brand. The ad featured a guy in a red, white and blue sweatsuit sniffing various objects happily. It starts with obscure things like carpets and curtains – and eventually you get the sense that he’s on a cruise ship when he looks over the side and sniffs the uniform of the Captain. At the very end, he utters just one line – “mmmm … new ship smell.” And you see the logo of Carnival Cruise Lines.
How many other cruise lines could have run the same ad? Probably any one. Most of them have some new ships. But this ad delivers a powerful message based on a truth that we all intuitively know (that new car smell). The message is simple: we have ships so new they still smell new. And if you’re going cruising, of course you want a new ship.You can see the full ad below. After you watch it, think about what quirky truth your customers all know that you could focus your marketing on. Sometimes you might find your best marketing idea inspired by a show about nothing.