Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
11 March 2019
No mistaking what the TurboTax free ads mean
An often-bemoaned complaint of mine is that so many commercials fail to deliver a share-stealing message. Or even a message at all. That is, most commercials are just played for entertainment, which only increases awareness. Most brands already have awareness. So, it’s with great interest I keep noticing the TurboTax free ads flooding our TV screens during this tax time.
You know the spots. No matter the scenario, trying a case or a playing a 70’s-era game show, the entire dialogue is “free, free, free, free…”
“But give the TurboTax free ads some kudos. You get the message.”
That might sound annoying. But I give the Turbo Tax free ads credit on one note. They deliver an actual message that’s impossible to ignore. And one that’s louder than anything else in the market.
Currently, H&R Block ads promote expertise. Instead of getting the CPA who’s playing games on his computer, you get a pro. OK. But isn’t expertise a table stake in the category of tax preparation? You couldn’t pick anyone – H&R Block or no – without believing they have expertise.
Do the TurboTax free ads work?
But there’s no getting around what the TurboTax free ads mean. It’s right there in everything.
You could make the argument that the ad is a little meta. Meaning, by only saying “free,” the ads are suggesting the message is the only thing in the advertising.
It’s not that simple. Unless it is. Sure, you should create ads that are striking and noticed. But the message itself is what makes audiences sit up. You can have a gecko at a yard sale all you want. But it’s easily forgotten because the message doesn’t mean jack.
For the TurboTax free ads, “free” may not be the most emotionally relevant intensity in tax preparation. It’s not for me. But the TurboTax brand isn’t for everybody. It’s for those who have simple tax returns they want completed quickly, easily…and without additional cost.
Now, are the Turbo Tax free ads believable? Does anyone really think they are free? Probably not, but the intended target audience will at least know the process is inexpensive.
So, yes, there are hidden fees if you want to access features and tax breaks with TurboTax. It’s isn’t free.
But give the TurboTax free ads some kudos. You get the message.
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