Gag Me Now

I react viscerally to certain advertising tropes.
So, preemptively, I’m going to say sorry now in case I rant too hard. (You’ve been warned and apologized to. No whining if you keep reading.)
One of the worst advertising offenses – and a special focus of my ire – is any version of, “We are locally owned and operated.”
Sweet Jesus, what is wrong with you people? (Not you. I like you. I mean the people who advertise that they’re local.)
Anytime I see it I think, “You used your budget to say that? I mean, of all the things you could have said, that was what you spent your money on? Huh. How’s that working out for you?”
Here’s what’s wrong with it and why I push back so hard.
First, never say what the customer can easily figure out for themselves.
We can all tell you’re locally owned. Don’t worry, we were never going to confuse you with a national chain.
But wait, what if it’s a locally owned franchise of a national chain?
Then shame on you for even trying to claim local. It might be true but you don’t get to say that. You made your bed with corporate; sleep in it. Snuggling in the sheets of “locally owned” is not an option for you.
Second, no one cares.
Why would I spend money to talk about something my audience doesn’t even care about?
Now, there are lots of things said in advertising that the customer doesn’t actually care about. So, why push back on this one?
Because, there’s a sizable group who believe in their hearts that people care about shopping local. But I’m here to tell you it’s not true. At least, not in a way that matters.
The general populace does not care enough about supporting small businesses to shop locally if it in any way is inconvenient.
But what about the people who actually do care about shopping local?
There’s just not enough of them to make a difference.
But people do shop local! You’re telling me that’s not happening?
I’m not saying that. It is happening. They just don’t care that you’re local. If they’re shopping with you, it’s because you’re better, cheaper, more convenient, or all three.
It’s not because you’re local. So, don’t talk about it in your messaging. Instead, talk about the things that actually matter to your customer.
Rant. Over.
– Zac Smith, VC