Thursday, July 1, 2010


I’ve written about endorsements before but never experienced their power until last weekend. I’m normally an avid moviegoer but have been involved in so many other activities lately that I’ve not seen a movie for several months.

Friday afternoon a friend sent a text message asking if I wanted to join her to go see Knight and Day, the new Tom Cruise movie. Having been a victim of Mission Impossible where anything, no matter how ridiculous, was possible, I cringed at the thought of another Tom Cruise action film. When I asked for another suggestion, my friend explained that she was out running errands and the task of finding a great film was in my hands.

I quickly sent messages to my two sons who are usually great sources. No response. They were not wired up at the moment. I tried two additional friends, also to no avail. In the dead time that followed, I became aware that I was literally looking for a third party endorsement. It was only a few blogs back that I wrote about the potential power of incorporating endorsements into your selling proposition. That blog was with the idea of imposing an endorsement on your consumer, never thinking that they might already be looking for one much like I was at the moment.

The experience I was having was strictly two parties, the product (the movie) and me. I needed a third party to recommend a good movie and there were none around. My next move was to pick the local Landmark Theater. At least I knew the experience of the theatre would be great. I can reserve a seat, they have great snacks and there are no aggravating commercials.

Their site on the internet provided a listing of twelve movies. I started at the top and one by one clicked on the titles and began reading the write-ups on each. As I quickly realized I didn’t fully trust what I was reading knowing the natural tendency toward hype. I still needed that third party endorsement.

After working my way through the first eleven, I got relief on number twelve. I felt like I had found a friend. In fact I had. The film was titled Winter’s Bone, which told me nothing. The same was true of the write-up except for one thing. This film had won the 2010 Sundance Film Festival's Grand Jury Prize and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. I confess, I am not familiar with either of those awards, but that was all I needed to make the choice. I booked it and guess what? It was great.

The learning here is that I have under estimated the power of the endorsement as a marketing trigger. The issue is finding the one that works for your product or service. You may be surprised how easy that may be given that consumers are so open to them. What you are looking for is one that has a certain, but not too much, familiarity.

I frequently include the Good Housekeeping seal in the work I do when I expose new selling propositions to consumers, but it seems to have lost its charm. I think it is so widely used it has lost its appeal. On the other hand I have created fake endorsements with what I thought were compelling names and they too have failed. What I know for sure is that endorsements are worth pursuing. What I have just learned is that in the corner of the minds of consumers, they are likely looking for them. If you have had any interesting experiences with endorsements that you can share, I would love to hear them.

Keith Chambers

Keynote Marketing Speaker
Creative Marketing Consultant
(310) 473-0010

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