They call him “The Pineapple Guy,” and he thinks your commercials suck! Meet Brian Barlow CEO and Creative Director of Pineapple Advertising, he’s on a mission and he’s single handily plotting a crusade to change car dealership advertising forever! You’ll find Barlow most days with his head in the clouds – literally flying from state to state urging dealers to stop advertising and start engaging with better creative, better decisions with a greater focus on non-traditional “creative” ad spend. About 10 years ago Barlow was hired by mid-size auto group to rebrand and redistribute their advertising scheme, Barlow did and within 6 months Barlow was on the speed dial of many dealerships wanting access to his creative mantra. “I don’t think like a car dealer, I think like a consumer. I want to be engaged, I want to laugh, I want feel something, I want you to earn my decision and 98% of businesses, particularly car dealers, don’t know how.” Barlow has a formula and it doesn’t involve “now’s the best time to buy” or “we have the best price, best selection, best service” or “biggest event ever this weekend!”
“That’s old school advertising – dealers don’t think TV is working, it’s not for them and it’s because of them. They don’t give the viewer anything to watch,” cries Barlow, who is now in his tenth year and has become one of the most sought after speakers in the auto industry with his in your face, brutally honest visual presentations usually given in a t-shirt and jeans. His passion unmatched, his results undeniable by his work.
The Pineapple Guy doesn’t wear suits, ties or anything else that suggest he’s putting on a sales clinic. His style is just that, his. “I tell prospects and the like all the time that if your marketing person is in a suit or wearing a tie and he’s giving you creative advice, turn the other way.”
Barlow also recalls walking into a dealership in Wichita, KS a few years ago: “As soon as I walked in, the managers and owners starting laughing at us – I, of course, was a little concerned but played it off. I later learned they had previously discussed wanting their next ad guy to be a guy wearing jeans and a t-shirt, we were hired.”
The main ingredient to Barlow’s successful formula and platform is the storytelling aspect of marketing. Barlow has created his own platform which he speaks about called “advertising is a four letter F word” – you’ll have to engage with Barlow to find out what that word is, but we can tell you Barlow’s method of storytelling is what makes him and Pineapple so unique. They create commercials that engage by how they shoot, how they edit, how they incorporate music and how they engage that particular demographic. Pineapple work is in a class all by itself which is why Barlow is in demand nationally. He won’t share his 3 tier formula for print but we can tell you after knowing Barlow, watching him speak and seeing his work any dealership looking to take the next step in their advertising needs to consult Barlow.
His biggest success story remains a campaign called “the credit cruncher” – “it was for a ‘buy here pay here’ dealership, they wanted to do the typical your approved and bad credit is good credit advertising – “I told them no, not if I was involved and moments later, I sang the credit cruncher creative as they all thought I was crazy, they were right and so was I.”
Today Barlow continues to challenge dealerships everywhere – his demand; stop approving “free tv station produced” commercials and start engaging customers with substance and tactical thinking. “Old school advertising is dead – there’s only 3 mediums you need to have in your engagement plan to get the most out of your ad dollars, otherwise your dealership is wasting money, wasting opportunity and wasting away.” That’s Barlow in a nutshell, the truth, the formula and the hook.