The Magic Marketing Formula
Road Death Ad


Here is my Magic Marketing Formula: IRD. It always works.

  • Identify Needs
  • Reflect These Needs (through ads, sales presentations, key phrases etc.)
  • Deliver (a reasonable product or service – that meets the promise made)

If you identify key phrases people use when searching for your type of product or service and then if people see these phrases appear alongside your web site in the search results (in the SERP – the search engine results page), they enjoy a Eureka moment. You know the feeling? That buzz when you see EXACTLY what you are searching for appearing in the SERP.  That’s the Magic Marketing Formula in action.

Think of ads. If Coca Cola identify people need to be loved they reflect this by showing ads of people drinking Coke and/or having a good time (whether polo bears or people). If a B2B IT supplier identifies a segment’s main need is, say, security, then it reflects ‘security’ in its ads, exhibitions, social media and optimises for these key phrases. Here is a shock example of the magic marketing formula in action in a very serious ad campaign – one that can save lives. Warning: This imagery in this ad might upset you.

Magic Marketing Formula Begins With Research 

Here’s a shocking example of the Magic Marketing Formula in action. Road deaths from speeding drivers is an issue in Northern Ireland. In-depth research by the Department of the Environment, revealed that ‘speeders feel it is their right to drive at whatever speed they want. They won’t change this for anything. ‘What about if you killed someone?’ No this would not stop them. ‘What about if you killed a child?’ A resounding silence. The idea was born. These shocking ads reflected this.

The ad went viral. Speeders are slowing down.


Going Viral

Ad showed Tues night on TV in Northern Ireland during ‘Dentist’ – no reaction; Played again at half time during half time in England v Uruguay game (19 June) .

7,000 youtube views (19 June).

Rang ad agency next morning (20 June) – by the end of the phone call 23,000 views;

53,000 end of the day (20 June)

4 days later 2.2m views (24 June)

2 months later 3.9m views (23 Aug)



How Do You Measure Return On Investment?

With the economic cost of a death estimated at £1.68m (source: Oxford Economics) and the campaign cots of  £400,000 you can see that this ad can be justified on a purely economic basis. On an emotional basis you might find this disturbing, but it does increase awareness and, most importantly, change behaviour.  In fact, the economic payback is £42 per £1 invested in advertising (4,200% ROI) when the full cost saving is calculated (this includes ‘human cost’ of a death).


Global Impact

In fact, AdWeek praised the one-minute ad for “driving the anti-speeding message into the public conversation far beyond Ireland. Many tweets say this ad goes too far. The debate continues on a reddit thread dedicated to the ad (apologies in advance for any fowl language used). What do you think (please leave a comment at the end). Regardless, I personally think if it saves one life, it is an excellent piece of work by Lyle Bailie International and driven by research commissioned by the Department of The Environment. Thanks to Bridin Beckett (DOE) and Paul James (Lyle Bailie) for this fascinating case study.


All comments are most welcome (please do scroll down and ‘leave a comment’).


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