Motorola launched its new #skipthesevens campaign today. Apparently, it’s a jab at Apple and Samsung for not being innovative. Before seeing the 2-minute YouTube clip (below) I was oblivious to Motorola’s “groundbreaking” new products. But the main purpose of an ad is to inform… So great job Moto.

As a consumer, I thought “nice move”. As a marketer, I thought, “this isn’t going to work.”

Why not?

Seeing this ad did get my attention as any great ad should do. But great advertising isn’t enough. Most people think an ad is what sells your product, it’s not. Ads can help drive sales by influencing perception and building awareness. But ads won’t get you any new customers. In fact, marketing won’t either.

So what the heck am I supposed to do if marketing and advertising won’t work? The answer is simple.

Let’s explore!

What Great Ads Do

Great ads inform. As I said in the intro, I didn’t know jack about Motorola’s new product. I’m a nonbeliever, I don’t care about their products. But they won my attention by touching on the new hot topic. Apple just released the iPhone 7 but nothing is awesome about it. So Apple customers should be mad. Motorola, however, has a new product, that is in fact, awesome and everyone should be excited.

This ad was timely, clever, and native — since the narrative came from actual iPhone customers. But great ads work to build sentiment and influence perception. Not sell. And the proof is evident, try selling something without a sales page. I don’t think so.

Take it from the big guys… BMW ads are created to make you think Bimmer (yes Bimmer) is “the most pleasurable ride”. Mars commercials are meant to make you want a Snickers at checkout for a quick snack. And the latest Chipotle promo is to inform the public they’re making healthier food. So if you wanna cheat on your diet, Chipotle is the way to go… not Moes.

Great ads also tell people what to do next. Why make people think? This will slow down adoption and frustrate consumers. If people are interested in your product make it easy for them to get it.

Distribution is essential. In the #skipthesevens promo, Motorola failed to inform consumers their product was only available to Verizon customers. This wouldn’t be a problem if it was available for every carrier. When iPhone-1 launched, Apple was clear on its partnership with AT&T, so no one was confused.

So tell people what to do next: where to buy, how long to wait, where to learn more. So when they’re ready to buy, nothing will hinder them.

Why Great Ads Don’t Work

The first time I purchased a Galaxy-S I hated it. I wasn’t an iPhone fan, and I felt Galaxy was a cheap replica. At the peak of my frustration, HTC started advertising its new Evo. It boasted a large screen, fast processor, video kickstand and built-in Beats Audio. I fell in love. This phone was creating buzz and arrived just when I needed it. But after a 5-year stint, the love affair went cold. Other developers ran circles around HTC with wearables, faster processors, and Instagram-ready cameras. While my perception of iPhone continued to be weak, the waterproof Galaxy S7 won me over.

This is why great advertising works!

I was never a Galaxy fan. With nothing impressive on the market, however, I went with the cheaper evil. But when HTC hit the scene they brought something new to the table… Great sound, video kickstand, faster processor, and larger screen. This all mattered to me because I love using my phone to listen to music (sound), watch video’s (sound, large screen, processor, kickstand), and edit websites (large screen, processor). But after the Evo, HTC stopped delivering on its brand promise. After years of waiting, Samsung brought some of their innovation back from China. To accompany their new ideas they brought ads, marketing, and more ads. Edge screens, waterproof body, longer battery life, faster processor, larger screen, more memory, buy one get one free… What!? Okay Samsung, I’ll give you a second chance.

This is called campaigning. It involves your product, marketing, ads, and distribution. Product because you need a value proposition. Marketing, because you need a way to sell it. Advertising, because people need to know it exists. And distribution, because people need a way to get it.

Does this make sense?

Let me tell you a secret. A great campaign works even without a good product. But the converse isn’t true. A good product doesn’t work without a great campaign. Want proof?

Obama had absolutely no credentials to become president. Twice! But the more experienced, more qualified, more proven candidates (Hilary, McCain, Romney) lost because they couldn’t compete with the campaign.

Tesla wasn’t a great car until it was a great campaign. And diamonds had been floating around for centuries with little interest in the U.S. That’s until marketers got their hands on it #adiamondisforever.

This is the same reason Apple’s the giant it is today. None of their products are revolutionary. And whoever said Apple created the mouse, touchscreen, iPad, iPod? They didn’t. But marketing works. That’s why most people think these products were created by Jobs. But to Apple’s credit, they did make the first fully assembled computer.

Importance of a Campaign

Motorola’s ad isn’t going to work because they really didn’t create anything revolutionary. Long battery life is good, but a Mod is just an extra battery. Who wants to carry that thing around? And who needs a projector on a phone? Nice to have, but unnecessary. Plus it seems like a lot of work to transform your mobile device. Great start, but there’s more campaigning to do… You need more people talking about it.

When Samsung made waterproof phones I thought, “now that’s something I can use.”

You don’t need an extraordinary product to win new customers. All you need is something useful. It has to be good enough toOld Horse Car get attention, and familiar enough not to be scary. That’s why DVR’s look like DVD players instead of flash drives and the first automobiles had horse heads mounted to the front. It’s innovation — meets branding — meets consumers are tired of crap.

Making a killer ad isn’t enough. You need a killer campaign. Your video may be cute, but if it isn’t part of a much larger scheme, you lose. Your one hit wonder won’t get you there, you need multiple hits and multiple things working together.

This is what makes advertising work. Not just a great ad, but a great product and marketing strategy to go with it…

So be relevant, be timely, be unique. Not once, but all the time, and encapsulate it with a campaign — keeping the bigger picture in mind.