Less is more Featured

8:00pm EDT April 25, 2007
A year and a half ago, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. had been on a roll, developing and launching products relevant to consumers.


Joey Viselli, director of the Goodyear brand, says advertising did a pretty good job of bringing that to consumers, but the company felt it was leaving something on the table. So the company teamed up with the McCann Erickson ad agency of New York to work on finding the essence of the brand as well as an emotional touch point to draw consumers through the message for Goodyear’s “Get there” marketing campaign.

While Goodyear was able to use its blimp to do so, not every company needs an icon to use in a new marketing campaign, Viselli says.

“Some people use humor, some people use drama in the ad,” he says. “Some people use the heritage of the company or the excitement of a category. Some people use fear, like an insurance company. The key thing is to be constantly asking yourself, why would someone want to watch this ad? Why would someone want to pause in a magazine to read what I have to say when they are in the middle of an article about their favorite linebacker?”

In print advertisements, part of grabbing the reader’s attention is making sure you aren’t trying to say too much.

Viselli says it is usually easy to flip through a coupon book or a magazine and pick out the local advertisements from the national ads, and it has nothing to do with the quality of photography or the type of font used, he says. Instead, it has to do with how well the thoughts are organized and whether the company has enough confidence in a unique selling proposition to let the ad stand alone without a lot of other words and thoughts.

“One of the biggest errors that smaller marketers make is trying to say too much,” he says. “In saying too much, you are trying to say nothing at all.

“A good agency should help counsel you. You have to lay out a priority of communication for an agency. Even if you are doing this in-house, what are the one or two or three things I am trying to say? If you get to No. 5 or 6, you need to know they aren’t going to come across. Even if they appear in the advertisement, they aren’t going to come across because, at that point, you are saying too much to the consumer.”

If you decide to hire an agency for your new marketing campaign, Viselli says you may have disagreements with the agency just like you will have disagreements with co-workers.

“But if you are all on the same page, you should be able to work those differences out,” he says. “Maturity is demonstrated by trusting the person, whose expertise you hired, can give you advice that adds value. If you are too controlling of the process, then you should just do the advertising yourself. I hire people because I feel they can add value beyond what I could add. If I find myself overruling them on a regular basis, either I hired the wrong people or I’m not trusting the expert. That all is predicated on understanding your business.”

HOW TO REACH: The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., (330) 796-2121 or www.goodyear.com


Finding an agency

When looking for an agency to help you start a new marketing campaign, it’s important to have a number of companies competing for your business, says Joey Viselli, director of the Goodyear brand. Then, choose one that is as interested in your business as it is in their own creativity.


“You need to ensure they don’t have an ego about their process and you don’t have an ego about your marketing,” he says. “They are going to ask you (who you are and what you are trying to accomplish), and you should make sure that everyone interacting with them answers it the same way. It costs money to confuse an agency. They are playing a consultant role.”

You should also make sure the agency can scale ideas to meet the size of your company.

“One of the biggest mistakes you can get into is getting romanced by the whole process, and at the very end of it realize they were working on a $1 million campaign and you were working on a thousand-dollar campaign,” he says.

Once you hire an agency, you have to immerse it very quickly in your world so its staff can understand what you are trying to sell. Viselli uses the example of working with a window manufacturer to describe how he would learn about that business.

“If someone came to me and said, ‘Come sit in my showroom for a few days and see what consumers are asking for. Come go on sales calls and with my salesmen and see what kinds of questions are being asked. Come to my factory and let me show you what it takes to make a window.’ Then I’m probably in a much better place to come up with advertising for those windows,” he says.

“The key thing is to be constantly asking yourself, why would someone want to watch this ad? Why would someone want to pause in a magazine to read what I have to say when they are in the middle of an article about their favorite linebacker?”