Celebrity Apprentice: Men's Ad Loses.. Too Much Copy (LifeLock MM: "No One Reads")

by Kelby
21 replies
I was absolutely floored last night watching Celebrity Apprentice on NBC...

The two teams had to put together a 4-page magazine advertorial for LifeLock (identity protection service).

The men put together what looked to be a long-form sales copy advertorial. Less graphics, more sales copy.

The women, on the other hand, were very light on copy, but heavy on graphics/imagery.

LifeLocks head marketing guy told the men flat out that their ad was worse because it...

"Had too many words!"

LifeLock marketing guy went on to say stuff like...

"No one will read this..."
"I bet only 1 out of the 100 people will read all this..."
"Should have written far less and used more imagery..."


I was floored and mad.

First off, if 1 out of 100 people did read it.. isn't that a home-run!?!?!

Now I don't know how good the copywriting was for their piece, but it sure offered a lot more information than the women's.

Did anyone else see this?

I wish I could have jumped into the boardroom and asked the LifeLock Marketing guy if he ever heard of copywriting or David Ogilvy or anything else related to tested advertising methods.

I am really interested to hear anyone's thoughts about last night's show...
#apprentice #celebrity #copy #lifelock #loses #men #no one reads
  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Originally Posted by Kelby View Post


    First off, if 1 out of 100 people did read it.. isn't that a home-run!?!?!
    Not really. It's how many people who buy that counts.

    But you're right about readership. Assuming an ad is written well (attention-capturing headline, compelling body copy, etc), targeted prospects will read it.

    Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author fasteasysuccess
    I didn't catch all of it but when I saw Brett keep on designing pics for an advertorial I'm thinking what is this guy doing and then luckily I saw the other guy tell Brett it's advertorial not an ad. So I didn't catch how it ended up, but an advertorial is about being like a real ad so it should have a lot of words, that company marketing guy that said too many words should of been fired from trump.
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    • Profile picture of the author MontelloMarketing
      Glad someone brought this up.

      The truth is that lifelock guy was clueless about what an "advertorial" is. It seemed the only guy who did know was Michael Johnson.

      That said... the guys did screw it up. As the donald said the real ad... the winner was somewhere between the two ads. An ad with both imagery AND copy.

      Sidenote: That lifelock guy was the guy who used to have his own SSN number on the side of a truck and on billboards. The hook was that he was so sure lifelock would protect him he had no fear of publishing it anywhere.

      Genius if you ask me.

      One problem...

      His identity got stolen and they immediately pulled the ads.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kevin Rogers
        Originally Posted by MontelloMarketing View Post

        Glad someone brought this up.

        The truth is that lifelock guy was clueless about what an "advertorial" is. It seemed the only guy who did know was Michael Johnson.

        That said... the guys did screw it up. As the donald said the real ad... the winner was somewhere between the two ads. An ad with both imagery AND copy.

        Sidenote: That lifelock guy was the guy who used to have his own SSN number on the side of a truck and on billboards. The hook was that he was so sure lifelock would protect him he had no fear of publishing it anywhere.

        Genius if you ask me.

        One problem...

        His identity got stolen and they immediately pulled the ads.
        Classic. I hadn't heard that, Vin.

        And I agree with you 100%... of all the "ad folk" offering opinions on what an advertorial is, the only one with close was a friggin' sprinter.

        Only saw the last half, but I was screaming at the TV.
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        • Profile picture of the author Mr. Subtle
          The guy's effort:







          The gal's effort:






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          • Profile picture of the author MontelloMarketing
            That confirms it for me. The guys really blew the women away.

            Johnson was robbed.
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            • Profile picture of the author John_S
              Johnson was robbed.
              If the goal is sales, then yes. If the goal is a toadying sycophant who will cater to an executive sized ego, with just enough sales to keep from cratering the business, the guys lose.

              In corporate politics, sales can happen. But nobody produces a sale because that's the goal. Corporate types are far more interested in their image than sales increases. So much so, that if it flatters the corporate self-image, the mindset assumes it must also produce sales.

              The corporate executive is the customer, without which you don't get a crack at the people buying the product or service.

              Yeah, yeah, customer service is our blah blah ...now go get me some coffee.
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              • Profile picture of the author Kay King
                You are talking about magazine ads - just a couple seconds to catch a reader's attention and make a point. That's all you have.

                When the person goes to the lifelock site they will get all the info they need - but browsing through a magazine people are unlikely to read big pages of ad content. As people turn the pages of a magazine, the ad either makes a fast impression or it's just skipped over.

                I don't watch that show but looking at the two layouts I'd choose the second one as more effective. It's simple and design is cohesive - protection-protect family-protect child-protect your personal info. No "here's who I am" or long sales copy - it's a good ad layout. Focus on making reader remember the words "lifelock" and "norton".

                For online copy we talk about the importance of a great headline to grab a reader's attention. In a magazine layout the entire ad has to grab the attention and create instant interest.

                I'd compare a print magazine ad more to a squeeze page than a full page of sales copy.

                kay
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                • Profile picture of the author MontelloMarketing
                  Except, Kay... you're negating the actual task which was to "create an ADVERTORIAL."

                  The men did that... the women did not.

                  Sure... if the goal was "create the best magazine ad," the men would have to have done a much better job at getting attention fast and so forth. But that wasn't the task. It was to produce the type of clandestine ad that looks like a magazine article or articles(or editorial or journalism piece). That is an advertorial.

                  Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

                  You are talking about magazine ads - just a couple seconds to catch a reader's attention and make a point. That's all you have.

                  When the person goes to the lifelock site they will get all the info they need - but browsing through a magazine people are unlikely to read big pages of ad content. As people turn the pages of a magazine, the ad either makes a fast impression or it's just skipped over.

                  I don't watch that show but looking at the two layouts I'd choose the second one as more effective. It's simple and design is cohesive - protection-protect family-protect child-protect your personal info. No "here's who I am" or long sales copy - it's a good ad layout. Focus on making reader remember the words "lifelock" and "norton".

                  For online copy we talk about the importance of a great headline to grab a reader's attention. In a magazine layout the entire ad has to grab the attention and create instant interest.

                  I'd compare a print magazine ad more to a squeeze page than a full page of sales copy.

                  kay
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                  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Rogers
                    Know what else drove me crazy in the boardroom... when the hairpiece was asking "Why did you go with the chef as the main spokesperson?" They never said: Because he's a 2 time victim of identity theft. I's called social proof, dip****!"

                    But now hearing your tale about the guy's campaign blowing up in his face, the point may have been the victim some convenient editing.
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                • Profile picture of the author Mr. Subtle
                  Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

                  You are talking about magazine ads - just a couple seconds to catch a reader's attention and make a point. That's all you have.

                  I'd compare a print magazine ad more to a squeeze page than a full page of sales copy.
                  Advertorials (and variations of advertorials) have been print ads for as long as I can remember.

                  Halbert/Carlton have written a number of 4 page (copy intensive) ads for the hand-to-hand combat niche in the 90s.

                  Even big companies like Apple, Microsoft and FoxBASE+ produced advertorials in the 90s. Below is a 2-page "advertorial from FoxBASE+:



                  Note the borrowed headline. (Sorry about the bad picture... I didn't want to crack the spine on my book.)
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                • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
                  Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

                  When the person goes to the lifelock site they will get all the info they need - but browsing through a magazine people are unlikely to read big pages of ad content. As people turn the pages of a magazine, the ad either makes a fast impression or it's just skipped over.
                  That's not true Kay. If the headline grabs the reader's attention, and that person is a targeted prospect, he/she will often times read every word in the ad.

                  The success of people like Sugarman, Weckesser, Kaplan, and others prove it.

                  Alex
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                  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Sanchez
                    Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

                    That's not true Kay. If the headline grabs the reader's attention, and that person is a targeted prospect, he/she will often times read every word in the ad.

                    The success of people like Sugarman, Weckesser, Kaplan, and others prove it.

                    Alex
                    I agree. I still remembering reading every single word of the SCARS self protection program John Carlton wrote years ago. I was never more excited and almost like an addict read every single word and actually bought the next issues of the magazine just to read the next type of advertorial John was putting out (at the time I had no idea who John Carlton was or what copywriting was either).

                    Point is, some people do read every word of copy. Even myn friends and I would talk about the product and the ad all of the time and how we desperately wanted to get it at the time (I was just a teenager back then)

                    John Carlton...I need to make a note of that guy. Apparently he's pretty good at this copywriting thing.
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      • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
        Banned
        Originally Posted by MontelloMarketing View Post

        Glad someone brought this up.

        The truth is that lifelock guy was clueless about what an "advertorial" is. It seemed the only guy who did know was Michael Johnson.

        That said... the guys did screw it up. As the donald said the real ad... the winner was somewhere between the two ads. An ad with both imagery AND copy.

        Sidenote: That lifelock guy was the guy who used to have his own SSN number on the side of a truck and on billboards. The hook was that he was so sure lifelock would protect him he had no fear of publishing it anywhere.

        Genius if you ask me.

        One problem...

        His identity got stolen and they immediately pulled the ads.
        That's hilarious. LOFL
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  • Profile picture of the author M_Jones
    This is very interesting.... The women were smart because full page ads are very expensive and are what works for magazines - it's not fair to say "Create an advatorial" and then be like "oh the full page ads are more effect, the ladies win..."

    Also, I do not like the style or layout that the men used. When looking at typical advatorials in magazines, they do not look like what the men did. The men did more of an article marketing thing instead of an advatorial....
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    The problem (IMHO) is that smart people build these companies.

    Then they hire morons with MBAs who have no idea what they're doing.

    Face it... when your sales determine whether you do or don't eat... you get pretty particular about making sales.

    But once the brand's established, it has momentum.... it's difficult to run it into the ground.

    Hence why these morons think they know what they're doing, when in reality, they're just riding on the success of their predecessors.

    -Dan
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  • On behalf of Australia... I apologise that you guys have to suffer Curtis Stone... celebrity dickhead!
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    • Profile picture of the author John_S
      The problem is the way to judge is test each version.

      That won't happen because of what the executive feels would happen to the company image, which they then wrap "brand image" around. It is nothing of the sort.

      It's the executive paper thin ego so deeply enmeshed in the company, they can't tell the difference. Triple the sales can be brushed aside with a quip that it takes the company off it's brand messaging strategy.

      Any success which an executive in a decision making position feels threatened by will never see a customer.

      Testing these two against each other would not hurt the brand. What's being tested is getting on the executive's wavelength, or thinking the same way and essentially being a clone.
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    Hi all,

    Lifelock has produced advertorials in the past.

    While I do not have them at hand (yes, there are multiple versions), whatever was said on the show about long form advertorials was inaccurate by the Lifelock guy.

    - Rick Duris
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