Anyone who lives in the New York metro area is likely familiar with B&H, a place that has often been described to me as the Disney World of camera stores. I myself have never been inside the Manhattan Superstore, but I have heard about this electronics Mecca from many photographers – both amateur and professional.
B&H educates their customers with video tutorials and onsite seminars. They have a highly educated staff, and an in-store fulfillment system that will have you wondering why every other superstore doesn’t follow suit. If you order online, they often deliver even quicker than they said they would. And Consumer Reports has given their website high ratings for years. Just a few reasons why they continue to do such high sales volume year after year.
So why don’t they hold their advertising to the same standard as their CRM and fulfillment programs?
Every morning on my way into work I hear their irritating spots on CBS radio. Crappy voiceovers. Crappy production. Horrible, horrible scripts. And always, the tagline that means absolutely nothing: You go to B&H.
Did you cringe when you heard them? I do every morning, but I stomach them so I can get to the news.
Now you may be thinking: well, if sales are consistently good, what’s the big deal?
The big deal is this: sales are not enough. Not in my book.
Luke Sullivan said it best in Hey Whipple, Squeeze This, one of the greatest advertising books of all time:
To those who defend the [Charmin] campaign based on sales, I ask, would you also spit on the table to get my attention? It would work, but would you?
It is not expensive to produce good radio or get talented voiceover actors – Manhattan is crawling with them. If Apple did advertising like this, they wouldn’t be Apple. Good creative gives your brand a personality, sometimes even a soul. As a marketer you get to decide what kind of soul your brand has. The cool kind. The sophisticated kind. The smart kind. Or the kind that annoys the s@#t out of people during Morning Drive.
If you were one of the most efficient and engaging electronics retailers in the country, which one would you choose?