Neighborhood Brands & Five Minutes Of Fame

You’ve seen them, the low budget TV spots for local businesses like pizza shops, law firms and car dealerships. The “talent” is horrible. The creative is unthinkable. And, the production quality is even worse. But someone must think they are acceptable because they’re running. Could this be possible? Can “5 minutes of fame” be so blinding that these local businesses can’t see the truth?

I was watching the Philadelphia Flyers game on Sunday night and could not believe my eyes. A spot for Uncle Tomy’s pizza, in South Philadelphia, featured a Hulk Hogan look alike, missing several teeth, screaming at the viewer. Really? Missing teeth? This is the best impression you can make for your business and brand? Eat at Uncle Tomy’s; lose some teeth.

And the screaming. This is another thing that puzzles me about the classic “neighborhood brand” format for TV and radio spots. Do people really rush to the phone to order a pizza, or run out to buy a car, when the screaming begins? Is it some sort of Pavlovian thing?

And it’s not only the TV spots that are bad, it’s the ads, menus, photography, website…everything. It’s painful. Now, you might think I shouldn’t be picking on poor local advertisers. But, the truth is some sales rep offered a deal they couldn’t refuse…being on TV…5 minutes of fame, no matter how bad it makes them look.

My advice to these neighborhood brands: Less is more. Just because you can buy a TV spot, doesn’t mean you should. Stay focused on why you started your business to begin with. Don’t be a copycat. Don’t use bad photography, lots of fonts or color combinations like red and blue. Consider asking a local college to use your business as an assignment for students. You could also hire a student in their senior year to help refine your brand.

Here are a few examples of neighborhood brands done right. Federal Donuts offers a few things and does them really well. Talluto’s Italian Food and Termini Brothers Bakery have stayed true to their core and it works!