How One Little Girl Built an Empire

Have you seen the Susie’s Lemonade commercial from Verizon?  Even though this commercial has been running for over a month, I still haven’t tired of it.  But you have to understand this in context—I rarely sit through commercials.  I am that channel-surfing guy you can’t stand to watch TV with.

For some reason this commercial has all the ingredients to resonate with my inner psyche, so I had to break it down and try to understand it.

First you have the iconic lemonade stand.  Almost everyone (at least in my age group – which I’m guessing is their target audience) has had experience with lemonade stands, bake sales, etc. growing up.  As the commercial opens, Susie’s father hands her the phone and says in a melodic fatherly tone, “it has a calculator on it.”  The implications here are two-fold: Susie’s father either doesn’t understand the power of the device he just handed her, and/or he underestimates Susie’s capabilities because she’s just a kid.  As she looks at the phone, you can see the “a-ha” moment as Susie realizes all she can accomplish with this simple little device.

That “a-ha” moment (performed perfectly by little Susie) is a critical frame in the commercial for relaying Verizon’s message: “Look at all the things I can accomplish with a simple little phone.”  This message probably tickles my nerd-bone because of my personal interests and career, but also because I love seeing businesses leverage technology to improve efficiencies and of course, grow.

The rest of the commercial is devoted to a series of vignettes showing how little Susie builds her Lemonade Empire.  And of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the priceless moment when Susie’s father comes home and gets “the eyebrow” from Susie’s assistant, who wants to know if Susie’s father has an appointment to see her.

Well scripted, well acted, great positive message, great memorable moments.

To me the best commercials are those that tell a story.  A metaphor, perhaps, that relates to the product they are trying to sell.  I don’t like being beat over the head with someone’s message—I am the type of person who is much more likely to refuse to buy a product if they use hard sales tactics.

What type of advertising do you respond to?  Do you use similar tactics when formulating your sales messaging?

Watch the Verizon commercial:

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