The Unintended Take Away

In the business world, be it advertising, marketing or any facet of business, the “take away” is what sticks with you when a meeting, product, or whatever is done.  With advertising and marketing, the take away they usually want the consumer to have is “I want that”, or better yet “I need that”, though sometimes they just want you to leave with “That’s a good product or company.”  While the immediate punch might be dealt with humor, they want you to remember the product and not the joke, unless the joke reminds you directly and fondly of the product.

I’ve always been a fan of the unintended take away.  This is usually some idea that either they didn’t think of or even one that they expressly did not want to show, but wound up embedding it in the audience’s minds anyway.

Take a look at these two commercials for Liberty Mutual:

Now, the idea they want you to take away from this is that Liberty Mutual looks out for people and is a good company.  They aren’t selling you anything in particular, but they are trying to sell you the brand, the general positive attitude toward the business practices of the company.

The other night, the wife and I saw the second commercial and the conversation went like this:

Her: I especially like how the end is the beginning, like time travel.
Me: Yeah.
Her: Its as if doing good deeds…
Me: … get you trapped in a Groundhog Day time loop?
Her: Yeah.
Me: Better stop doing good deeds then.
Her: Maybe that’s why people are mean to each other, fear of getting caught in a time loop.

The unintended take away.

Yeah, we are weird people.

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