By Don Klein
Award-winning ad man-cum-auto journalist Don Klein knows a good (or bad) car commercial when he sees one; the Ad Section is his space to tell you what he thinks of the latest spots. The ad’s rating is depicted via the shift pattern at the bottom, but everyone has an opinion when it comes to advertising, so hit Backfires below and tell us what you think, too.
When it comes to popularity, size matters. Jimmy Fallon, for example, is huge, and so is Alec Baldwin. I’m talking about their Q Scores, which are survey-derived metrics that indicate a celebrity’s overall recognition and popularity within a specific target audience. For decades, Q Scores (a proprietary name owned by the company that generates them) have been the gold standard by which ad agencies assess a celebrity’s value as a spokesperson.
As with many things in life, the larger the Q Score, the better. Which brings us to Shaquille O’Neal. To help me put things in perspective, I called Steve Levitt, president of The Q Score Company, who told me that while the average celebrity is recognized by 29 percent of young American adult males, a whopping 70 percent recognize Shaq. Among sports fans, that number is even higher. So if you’re targeting your sales message to those guys, it might behoove you to consider hiring The Big Shaqtus to appear in one of your commercials—or if you’re Buick, two of your commercials.
Last year, Buick dubbed O’Neal a “Size Authority” and squeezed him into a LaCrosse eAssist to tout the car’s luxury, interior space, and gas mileage. That entertaining commercial culminated with the line, “I’ve got shoes that are bigger than most hybrids—and more stylish, too.” This time around, they have him listing additional attributes, such as “sophisticated styling” and “fresh technology.” Shaq’s punch line? “Like my Mom said the day I was born: ‘Wow, that’s a lot more than I expected!’ ”
Given O’Neal’s size (the man is over seven feet tall and is charitably listed at 325 pounds), I don’t doubt he was enormous from day one. And given his wealth (his fortune has been estimated at $250 million), I have no trouble believing he sports some extravagant footwear. But I do have trouble believing that Shaquille O’Neal drives a LaCrosse. Even casual sports fans know that Shaq is all about cars, and that he has a stable of exotics that has included legroom-modified Ferraris, a giant Escalade, and a custom stretch Lamborghini Gallardo. So are we supposed to believe that this three-time NBA Finals MVP, multiple-championship winning sports titan tools around town in a stock, $35,000 sedan with just 38 inches of front headroom? Of course not. To quote the great philosopher Biz Markie, “Don’t even give me that.” But in these commercials, Shaq is speaking as a paid salesman, not an owner, so he doesn’t need to own a LaCrosse any more than a Ferrari salesman is required to own a 458 Italia. He’s qualified to talk about size and luxury …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver