Three Ads That All Suck

‘Tis the season for us to rid our homes of the accumulated possessions we no longer value. In the process, we’re going to need to do some vacuuming while we’re at it.

In this week’s teardown, we look at the leading vacuum commercials to see which one can clean house and prove it – based on Audiolytics™ scores, of course.

*Audiolytics™ is Oxford Road’s proprietary method of measuring ad copy across 71 data points – the most comprehensive scoring system in the market – for maximum conversion so that every media dollar achieves optimal impact.

**Due to restricted distribution of trade secrets, we cannot share all 71 sub-components but will reference select optimization levers based on the 9 Key Components of Audiolytics™ Setup, Value Proposition, Positioning, Demonstration, Substantiation, Offer, Scarcity, Path, and Execution.

Shark ION Robot 

Audiolytics™ Score – 64%

The Good:

  1. Setup – Levitating furniture. This is sufficient for capturing consumer attention.

  2. Value Prop – Clean almost anywhere – all on its own? Presenting the Shark Ion Robot” – textbook presentation of product and benefits.

  3. Execution – The ad has high production value and uses CGI to show how the product works technologically.

The Bad:

  1. Positioning – There is no clear reference to how it differentiates from six million other options in the marketplace.

  2. Offer – None to be found.

  3. Demonstration – Honestly, it’s good that they show the product in action, but the messes it cleans up are only applicable if you are OCD. These are the most organized messes this writer has ever seen. What does it do when my dog vomits on the carpet.


Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro 

Audiolytics Score – 77%

The Good:

  1. Value Prop – The ad offers a clear pain point in the setup (your pet is getting your furniture dirty) and then offers a clear value prop by stating “it’s the best cleaning system for pet messes.”

  2. Positioning – They not only declared that it is the “best,” they gave substantive reasons how they fulfill that claim while specializing in a very tangible use-case.

  3. Demonstration – Similar to the Shark Ion Robot spot above, they use graphics and animation to show how exactly this product will get rid the potential pain point (pet stains) and provided a visceral representation of just how disgusting those furry little beasts are making your carpet. Bravo.  

The Bad:

  1. Offer – The ad has no special offer to the consumer, an oft-made mistake for performance marketers who are not running 52 weeks of the year.

  2. Path – Although there is a URL that appears on the last shot, it for a second at most, which doesn’t quite cut it. An effective alternative is to use a lower-third which allows the potential consumer to see the path throughout the entirety of the spot.



Audiolytics Score – 55%

The Good:

  1. Value Prop – The ad shows the product effectively cleaning up the cat’s mess or to put it simply, presents a solution to the problem.
  2. Demonstration – The ad demonstrates how to use the product with a clear 1-2-3 process: “Trap, Lock, Done.”
  3. Execution – As expected, the production value is exceedingly high, which underscores trust in this well-known brand. Whether or not the substance is effective is another story.

The Bad:

  1. Setup – It was very generous of them to donate 50% of their ad buy to saying nothing about the product but letting us watch mischievous feline escapades. However, if we really want to be entertained in this way, we can go to YouTube or watch a Pixar movie. This setup should have taken no more than 3 seconds or 10% of the ad. Money burned.
  2. Positioning – Nothing explicit on why this product is a better option than the average mop or duster. They were too consumed with that crazy cat.
  3. Substantiation – Regardless of how well known the Swiffer brand is, it still has to substantiate its success in some form or fashion. Units sold, time saved by Swiffing. Anything. It’s a competitive marketplace, and they seem to be resting on their laurels.


And the winner is…DYSON! Actually, that’s not true only because their spend is conspicuously absent right now. Otherwise, it would not be a contest. Dyson always holds the title for reasons that are self-evident in all their spots.

OK, the real winner here is The Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro! 

Their score could have been higher if they brought in some good ol’ fashioned time-sensitive offers and a lower-third, but among their competitive set, this thing is a winner.

So What… Are you making a big promise to your target audience? Are you backing it up with a powerful demonstration? Are you willing to disgust your audience with the repugnance of the status quo? Are you willing to place your chips on a specific use case (like pet messes) and dig miles into the earth to make sure you win the point, as well as the hearts and minds of your customers? Watch it again and see how you can portray your brand in such a compelling fashion. If you need a helping hand, we might know someone who can help!

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