The Simple Life: Truth and Mobile Home Sales
Life isn’t nearly as complicated as we make it out to be. And generally folks know this but that doesn’t stop most of us running around in circles, accumulating ever greater piles of stuff and then worrying obsessively about what comes next. This in turn leads to increased pressure on the relationships we have, causing stresses and breakdowns in the one area of life we ought to protect the most. Still, as long as we remain studiously committed to desiring more than we want, spending more than we have and accumulating more than we need this truly vicious cycle will not end anytime soon.
Obviously, this kind of life-size treadmill can make reality pretty frightening. Who wouldn’t try to block it out with drugs, alcohol, food, sex, entertainment or whatnot? When you’re not allowed to stop running eventually you’ve got to try something to keep the sanity in check. It doesn’t usually work though because even the best runners have to actually stop sometime or they’ll end up blowing chunks by the side of the road. Sometimes we just have to slow it down.
Well, the same goes for advertising. With ad budgets more in line with a small country’s GDP and containing enough special effects to make eyes and ears bleed, ads these days seem to get more and more complicated every day. Behind the scenes is even worse as armies of professionals man uncountable focus groups while designers master plan a brand to within an inch of its life. Don’t get me wrong – I appreciate the effort, but at the end of the day all they’re really doing is selling something, right? Is it so bizarre to think that maybe an ad only needs to do one simple thing? Do we always need a full-on, Broadway-sized production on behind every single offer to sell?
Not Cullman Liquidation. The business (located in Cullman, Alabama) sells used mobile homes. They have an ad I happened to catch on the internet that is the absolute benchmark of simplicity. It’s perfect.
The spot opens on one man. “Hi, I’m Robert Lee. I own Cullman Liquidation. I sell mobile homes. I’m not gonna waste your time. I’m gonna tell it just like it is. These are mobile homes, not mansions. They come in two pieces. If that’s what you’re looking for, that’s what I got.” Simple and dead-straight to the point. He goes on. “They’re used. Some of them have stains. We cover that up.” Then, motioning to his staff, Mr. Lee points them out. “She decorates ‘em, she sells ‘em, these guys help me move ‘em.” Then we get a new shot as he faces back to camera again. “A bouncer in Birmingham hit me in the face with a crescent wrench five times and my wife’s boyfriend broke my jaw with a fence post. So if you don’t buy a trailer from me, it ain’t gonna hurt my feelings So c’mon down to Cullman Liquidation and get yourself a home, or don’t. I don’t care.” He then turns and walks away from camera. Awesome.
Now, there is no earthly reason I (or you) should even know this commercial exists but thanks to two buddies named Rhett and Link, we do. Friends since the first grade, these two dudes have made web-stars of themselves by creating a significant fan base on YouTube by making and broadcasting their own music videos, films and commercials. Focusing on small businesses, the two originally set out to make the very best in local advertisements. Cullman was one of their bigger success stories, as the two friends visited the dealer and decided the best way to tell his story was to simplify the pitch. This is who he is, this is what he does, now go ahead and do whatever you want. Uncluttered, uncomplicated and undeniably effective.
I doubt Robert Lee’s life is any easier (or harder) than the rest of us. He’s riding the same treadmill you and I shuffle across every single day. But watching his ad was enough to remind me that simpler is better. I may not be buying a used mobile home anytime soon but I do appreciate the take away all the same. Life can try to speed me up all it likes, trying to get my butt in gear for wanting this or buying that but at the end of the day, I just don’t care that much. Or at least, I shouldn’t care that much. Baby steps…….baby steps.