Hard Sell

Article excerpt

Wot's this? An ad showing us someone unimpressed with the product? Someone, in fact, turning it down? Time to pay attention.

Undoubtedly, this is the reaction that the Nissan's Primera Precision ad hopes for. In it, a man tries and fails several times to deliver the car to a punter, who keeps closing the door on him. Each time he turns up, he offers more extras - immobiliser, electric front windows, sun roof. But the dowdily dressed character he is trying to woo accepts the keys only when he is offered all these goodies, plus remote central locking. As the delivery man gives him a bear-hug, the voiceover - in a Yorkshire accent - tells us: "Demand more for your pounds 11,465."

The clue is the Yorkshire accent. Next time you see the ad, you notice the sheep, the babbling brooks and moors. You notice that Mr Hard-To- Please lives in a cottage straight out of All Creatures Great And Small. So we, the punters, are being flattered with the idea that, like the Yorkshireman of stereotype, we're not easily impressed by gimmicks, that we drive a very hard bargain (this from an ad selling a car on its extras).

Flattery is the advertiser's greatest weapon. Exploit the punter's vanity and you've won half the battle. Of course, ads promoting vanity products are best suited to this (and cars are the most expensive vanity products). Not for nothing do cosmetic commercials invariably employ the cliche "Because your skin deserves the best". …