For Sale: Smiles, and Tears (Oh, And Products, Too)

You've seen them. The commercials that make you blink back a tear.  There's one now on for Cheerios that does it every time.  A little girl asks her mom if she ate cheerios when she was little and the mom says yes.  Then the little girl says it's like eating breakfast with Nana, and the mom is jolted, then teary, then smiles and tells the little one it is.

This one hit home for me.  Having lost my mom two years ago, I, too, was unprepared for the little girl to say what she said.  I admit I teared up, too.  Now is saying that companies that produce these types of commercials sell, well, more product.

"The ability to tell a compelling story, in human terms, isn’t just marketing happy talk. It actually increases the value of products, and ultimately, the price at which they can be sold," Joe McKendrick reports..

He quotes  Ty Montague in an HBR Blog Network post, who says “In a world of abundance, what your product does for your customers is important, but not nearly as important as what your product means to them."

I agree.  I buy Cheerios for my son, anyway, but I've been more and more impressed by the company's commercials for the cereal because lately, they all seem about love, like the baby tucking them, one by one, into his  mouth, and the little girl who asks her mom if Cheerios are good for the heart, the mom says yes, so the little girl goes and pours Cheerios all over her dad's chest, startling him when he gets up from his nap.  (A lot of people have commented on the fact that it's a biracial family, but so what?  It's about how much a little girl loves her dad.)

McKendrick goes on to note another type of sales, this one from "Mad Men": “Technology is a glittering lure, but there is the rare occasion when the public can be engaged on a level beyond flash…  Switch it on…. This device isn’t a spaceship, it’s a time machine….  It goes backwards and forwards…. And it takes us to a place where we ache to go again.”


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