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  • Half The Money Spent on Advertising Is Wasted

    ...Unless it is the Government.

    In order to recruit more members, the National Guard hired an as yet unnamed advertising agency to help.

    Earnhardt National Guard Car

    Photo From: Click the picture for a larger version

    That agency spent $32 million to get the National Guard logo on Dale Earnhardt’s car that runs in NASCAR races. The money also got a National Guard sign-up booth at the 20 races on which the logo appeared on the car.


    24,800 prospects signed up at the booths in the year 2012. Out of that number only 20 met the Guard’ qualifications and NONE (repeat NOT A SINGLE ONE) of those qualified signed up for the National Guard. 

    Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill 

    Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill



    The Show-Me Senator 

    Sen. Claire McCaskill is not up for re-election this year, but she is from the “Show-Me State”, Missouri.

    She picked up on this expensive “Whoops!” and USA Today took the story from there.

    The article is here:

    Sen. Criticizes National Guard’s NASCAR Sponsorship

    My title is based on the original quote was from the famous merchant and Pioneer marketer John Wanamaker:

    “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half.” --John Wanamaker

    Some Money is Wasted

    I tell the people that I work with that there will be some money wasted on your advertising and marketing. But you correct your mistakes quickly and move on to something that does work.

    • Construct a clear message. The ad on the racecar did not even say: “Join the National Guard”
    • Get that message to a well-defined target audience. National Guard recruits are mostly between the ages of 18 and 24. The average fan of NASCAR is between 35 and 54 years old. The target audience was missed by a mile.
    • Use the right media. Signs and billboards are an effective form of advertising that they must be used with something else that “completes the sale.” Imagine the radio, television and mailing campaign  you could put together with $32 million to reach 18 to 24-year-olds!

    Don't Blame the National Guard

    I certainly do not blame the National Guard for this mistake. My guess is that some bureaucrat got a hold of a marketing budget and did what was what they thought was the flashiest and the easiest thing to do. Shame on them the National Guard deserves better.