Match The Message to The Medium

Alan BelniakMarketing, mediaLeave a Comment

mis-managed print ad (via

I saw this ad recently at a local watering hole.


I was (and am) slightly confused.  What I think the ad is trying to get across is that this particular limousine company isn’t late or forgetful about appointments.


  • Why the use of an iPhone as the medium for the message?  Does it apply at all here?  Does it add anything to the message or point?  I don’t think it does.
  • Perhaps the iPhone text messages/SMS exchange is used to show urgency (“Why aren’t you here?” and “call them, they are open 24/7”).  It begs the question: how often do limos just never show up at appointments?  Is this an epidemic?
  • And if one decided to call up this company in lieu of their apparently delinquent competition, wouldn’t there be some sort of penalty to pay?  Like a forfeiture of deposit or something?
  • Why is this company open 24/7?  Do people often call up and start booking a limo at 4:15a?
  • And why does this company have extra limousines lying around, not in use?  To me, that’s poor capital budget planning (OK, that last one is a stretch).


Interrogation aside, I think this ad misses the mark.  I’m not entirely picking on this company (I wouldn’t have blurred their name and number if I was).  I think they (or their ad company) got caught up in the medium: the use of an iPhone (a near-ubiquitous medium that most people can recognize).  But where they missed the mark is that it has no bearing on what they are trying to convey.


To me, the points they are trying to get across:


  • This company has flexible hours, and can be readily reached
  • They are rarely late or forget appointments
  • They have excess capacity to serve customers’ needs on a moment’s notice


I know it might be difficult to understand their entire marketing message from this one ad, but you’re seeing as much as I have.  Seeing this, would you disagree that this is what they are trying to leave a reader with, when it comes to their core message or differentiation?


If so, then how does showing this pseudo-text exchange on a landscape iPhone add to, enhance, support, or bring across this message?


Match the message to the medium.  Forcing one to unnaturally pair with the other results in your message getting lost in the shuffle.


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