Believable Advertising

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

6 April 2017

Believable advertising must be authentic

What makes advertising believable? Cleverness? Phraseology? Polish? Believable advertising may have all those elements or it might just seem REAL.

Look at these two TV commercials. They are for the same company on similar topics. One is believable advertising and the other not. It’s adsy (if that’s a word).

Here is the new campaign

“Ken Fisher is not a matinee idol. What he is is believable and straightforward. A fresh take on effective ads.”

Fisher Investments has believable advertising

I don’t know the complete story on this company. But one campaign has advertising agency written all over it. The other is believable advertising that seems simplistic in its craft.

Lots of law firms star in their own commercials. Like car dealerships, they reek of ego and amateurism. You know— the syndrome of wanting to be a star because I am paying the bill. The lawyer crap is just so much shit.

Believable advertising is powerful. Simple is better.

Every advertising executive and creative knows the importance of a single-minded message. Make one point. Tell a single story. Try to make the medium transparent.

All this means is that advertising wants the prospect to notice the message and not the commercial or ad. Too bad automobile advertisements can’t seem to figure that out. They seem to revel in special effects. As if ANY of it jumps out at us anymore. Morphing roads and camera tricks are so commonplace. We lost the purpose. We ignore it.

It looks like Fisher Investments woke up

Ken Fisher and believable advertisingThey walked away from the polished spokesperson and fake drama. Instead they settled on believable advertising that feature a single shot of Ken Fisher.

He is not the handsome actor or the egotistical company owner. He comes across as believable. Credible. Trustworthy.

What’s more, he makes it memorable.

Those of you who remember the old Carvel Ads from years ago where Tom Carvel narrated the Whale-of-a-Dad ice-cream cake or the special St Paddy’s Day Cookie O’Puss cake. He was so bad it worked. We believed him.

Same with Frank Perdue who convinced an entire generation of Americans that his chickens were better. After all, they ate marigold petals.

But, Ken Fisher takes reality to a new level

He speaks directly to the camera. We believe he knows what he is talking about and is giving us useful information. This is believable advertising at its zenith. It works.

The moral of the story is the power of belief. We trust be believes what he says and says what he believes.

Spells persuasive to me.

Read about advertising recall here.

Here is an article on the importance of emotion in advertising


  1. Gary Duell

    The only problem is that Ken Fisher is a liar. He KNOWS that there is no better way to guarantee that a retiree will never run out of money than with annuities. Social Security is an annuity. Pensions are annuities. Fisher is simply preying on the superstitions of an uneducated public. If what he was saying were true, he would explicitly describe the “better ways” wouldn’t he?

    • Alex L Wasilewski

      Fisher did not guarantee anything. Sounds like someone who is not prepared to retire. Ya can’t even guarantee you will be alive before retirement.
      Maybe you live in Chicago and will die before 50.
      He is saying that a freaking 4% annuity will not out perform a better than average money manager.
      I agree that most money managers don’t add up to dog shit.
      Fisher is not one of them.


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