Many, many years ago, when I was still quite naive about the timeshare industry, I wrote the following piece for an online publication called "The Timeshare Beat." About a month ago, I received an e-mail from someone who had read the piece and wanted to know if I still had a copy I could send to him. I found it and re-read it. There's still a lot of sense in what I wrote, however naive I may have been back in 2011. I'm posting it here and including an update.
GOT MILK? No, this week's column is not about good nutrition, although having seen too many timeshare salespeople's diets, it could be. No, today, I'm going to ask a simple question of you with the knowledge that someone from a resort or from ARDA is reading and paying attention. I've talked previously about truth in advertising and why its so important.
We, as timeshare professionals also know that there is a lot of bad talk on the streets about our industry and many misinformed consumers. So why doesn't ARDA come up with a national advertising campaign to educate people about timeshare? Yes, ARDA is there to serve the industry, but as the governing body, shouldn't they bear some of the responsibility for saying good things about timeshare to the vast majority of people who don't know about timeshare?
A web site is a nice adjunct to an advertising campaign, but who exactly is hitting the website? My very educated guess is that people who access the ARDA website don't need to be sold on the timeshare concept.
Just as the National Dairy Board developed their wonderful "Got Milk?" campaign, ARDA can and should do the same thing. Something quick to remember, something catchy, something to make people smile. I can see everyone scrambling around right now, pen and paper in hand trying to come up with an award winning campaign. STOP. Yes, right now...stop. The idea is NOT to come up with something that is designed to win awards. The idea is to come up with something useful, educational and memorable.
After many years in advertising, I've discovered one simple truth...if you try to create something award winning, you will miss the boat. If you stick with KISS-Keep It Simple, Stupid and think as consumers do, you may succeed. The campaign needs to be carefully thought out, simple, easy to remember and most of all, informatie without giving away too much. ARDA needs to concentrate on selling the concept, or more specifically, un-selling the negative concepts that put many consumers on full alert.
Here's just one of a variety of ideas that I have...show a family on vacation using a hotel room vs. a timeshare. Simple enough. Plant the seed. UPDATE... RCI has done some great commericals that clearly illustrate timeshare vacations and non-timeshare vacations. Great stuff! And since I strongly believe that the timeshare industry has to acknowledge the fact that there is still a negative image out there, I would strongly urge everyone to take a look at the latests spots from Chrysler...the ones with the tagline "Imported From Detroit." THAT is how you get over a negative image and move on. Who's going to be first?