Posted April 25, 2011 4:03 pm by with 2 comments

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Last night on Celebrity Apprentice, the teams were tasked with creating a four-page ad for the Trump Collection of Hotels. Now, before you scoff, let me tell you that you can learn a lot about marketing from this show, so read on and hold your laughter.

The judges felt that both teams failed miserably at the job, but what’s interesting is that they failed because they over-thought the task and forgot about the basics.

For example:

Stale Images

The executives on the task told the teams that they didn’t want those same old, typical hotel images, gleaming buildings and a waiter with a towel over his arm. And yet, that’s exactly what the teams gave them. The women even went so far as to put the Playmate on their team in a tub full of rose petals while she sipped champagne. Ah, luxury . . . that we’ve seen a thousand times before. The execs even went so far as to say the ad looked like the ones you see for a low-rent strip club. Yikes.


Both teams had a clutter problem. The women packed more than a dozen images on their four pages. The eye didn’t know where to land and it was confusing and messy looking. The man, had a single clean graphic on each, then cluttered the space with a mile of text. The words were carefully chosen but no one is going to read a full page of text on an ad for a hotel chain.

No Call to Action

With all the words the men did have on their page, the web address for the Trump Hotel Collection wasn’t one of them. They were so focused on the big picture, they forgot to include any contact information. The only thing worse, would have been to include a phone number or web address with a typo. Doesn’t matter how great the ad is, most consumers won’t go any further without having a call to action handed to them at the end.

The contestants on Celebrity Apprentice aren’t trained in the art of advertising so perhaps these simple mistakes are understandable under the circumstances. But what are your circumstances? I would bet that the majority of the people who read this blog also haven’t had an formal trained in marketing or advertising. Many are small business owners who take on their own marketing due to cost and ownership issues.

For those people, it’s easy to get caught up in all the hype about social media and mobile and ads that dance and sing. But we can’t forget the basics.

Don’t lose a sale because of a typo in your email address or a phone number without an area code. Check all of your ads today. Check your Twitter, Facebook, and Places account. Click the links, dial the phone number and scan for typos.

Every piece of marketing you put out there needs to be clear, conceptually inviting, with an obvious call to action. It’s that simple and it’s that hard.

Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC

  • deb

    Star Jones presentation was like a grade school play. Please fire her. Tell her she is not in court.

  • Here’s our new Celebrity Apprentice vlog. We talk about La Toya Jackson getting fired, how Star Jones is a bully and more!