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Woman talking to the Progresso Soup chefSeveral months ago I wrote a blog on how women were no different than men; it was sort of tongue-in-cheek and it caused quite a stir which is always fun. I’m always on the alert for gender related commercials; there’s a fine line between funny and insulting and it’s not always obvious. I recently read there are three parts to an advertisement,  the surface meaning, what you see immediately and your first impression, the advertising intention, what are they selling and the cultural part of the ad–how we really get connected. ( By the  way, this information is taken from and  included in an interesting blog, the Gender Ad Project Blog which shows you how to analyze advertisements and their meanings.  

And then I noticed  the  Progresso Soup commercials. The one I like the best is the one where the woman is excitingly telling the chef about her weight loss. Since he doesn’t quite get it she asks if there’s a woman she can talk to. In the photo above, this woman is talking about her weight loss and her engagement.

The commercials are charming and very clever and give us insight into this particular woman; she believes a woman would be more interested in talking with  her about her weight loss. 

 I went to YouTube and checked out the Progresso Soup commercials and found several more involving women , as well as some home grown  “copy cat commercials” that are really funny. The commercials show  grown ups having fun talking about their grandmothers and one of our favorite childhood foods–soup. My own grandmother, Christine,  used to make a mean lentil soup. The key to all these commercials is the personalization and the connection to the family.

The commercials are just funny and nostalgic and involve happy customers. How does this fit for your business? Do your commercials involve nostalgia  and personalization? After watching one of your commercial do customers feel delighted and connected? Many business don’t realize that anything that anything that them to their customers is a form of  great customer service.

 Here are 6 ways to stay involved with your customers whether they’re men or women.

1. Vow to have fun with your business and your customers ; the world is far too serious so lighten  up. Go ahead and make fun of yourself and your business. As a salesperson, you need to to ask  your customers what they think about your commercials. This way you will have a way to connect and you will know what works.  Your customers know better than anyone if your advertising connects. Fun and humor are a great way to connect with your customers.

2. Involve your customers in your commercials; Progresso has a cute contest where you can make your own commercial and write a 300 word essay about your “soup” experience.

3. Post your commercials and ideas to your YouTube channel and invite your customers to do the same.

4. Invite your customers to share their ideas about the use of your product; give a prize for the most original idea or several prizes.

5. Don’t forget to feature everything on Facebook and invite comments. Who knows what you’ll discover about your products.

6. Whenever possible, build connections with your customers, personal connections. Get to know them, their likes and dislikes and become friends. 

I read through the comments on one of the Progresso videos  and someone wanted to know who made the tile backsplash–they wanted it!  It just shows, business can come from anywhere.

Lisbeth Calandrino is a small business consulting providing sales and customer service training. Her book, Red Hot Customer Service can be ordered from her web site.

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