Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Puppies, Babies, and Old People…How they can make you a Millionaire

By Sarah Gubara

Got a mediocre product? Got a small budget for your commercial? No worries! For everyone who can’t afford to hire Kim Kardashian to endorse your products, you too can sell!

In light of the biggest showdown of commercials this year (the Super Bowl), it’s important to realize you don’t have to spend bazillions of dollars to have a great commercial that people will talk about for days. While jam-packing celebrities in a commercial (cue Kobe) can be entertaining, below you will find three categories that will help give your commercial “The X Factor” at a reasonable cost:


Many commercials have seen success with cute babies and kids like Dairy Queen, Ally Financial, Wendy’s, Nike, Pepsi, and more. But the award for the best baby commercial campaign goes to the E*Trade baby! Do you know what the E*Trade app does? Do you even need to use E*Trade? Probably not. But I did not change the channel—I wanted to see what this baby had to say!

It’s a very simple model: cute baby, deep voice-over, and boom! I’m sold. Today’s media and popular culture are saturated by images of women’s bodies selling unrelated products, so when a little person in a diaper starts talking to me—I listen.


Like babies, the advantages of using puppies (and other cute fuzzy creatures) are a no-brainer. While some furry spokesmen have disappeared (we haven’t seen the Taco Bell Dog or Target’s Bullseye in a while), Target and others have continued to employ a number of dogs for use in their commercials.

Others have followed suit and made a splash in the cutesy scene such as the Travelers’ Insurance dog. We’ve seen him lose his bone, find love, and have pups of his own. But no one has come to match the Geico Gecko, normally an unwelcomed creature, his animated persona has won over many—because who wouldn’t trust their car to a British lizard, right?

Old People:

This is by far my favorite category. While many criticize these commercials for portraying the older generation in a negative, stereotypical light, old people generally make for great, entertaining commercials. They’ve cracked us up and shocked us numerous times, from the “Where’s the beef?” lady to the Chevy Cruze commercial (which uses the stereotype of loss of hearing to make its messages stick).

But my favorite commercial character of all time, the same person who inspired me to write this blog, is Ethel. An incredible cook, whose secret ingredient is Franks RedHot Sauce…”she puts it on everything.”

So before you go out and book Tim Tebow for your commercial, do a cost-benefit analysis….you might find out that Ethel is a way better option.

Sarah Gubara is Manager of Social Media for Maroon PR.  Contact her at Sarah@MaroonPR.com

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