How a Homemade Truff's Hot Sauce Ad Crushed a $15K Video

Zach Johnson

Dylan Carpenter

Blake Driver

Episode
07
|
Season 1

Blake Driver

,

Co-Founder, Advisory Marketing Agency

Truff Hot Sauce

As a co-founder of Advisory Marketing, Blake Driver has worked with notable brands like Truff Hot Sauce, Black Wolf Skincare, Stryve, Buscemi, and many other direct-to-consumer brands between $0 - 25M. A 2013 graduate of Cal State University, Fullerton with a B.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing, then went on to earn his MBA from Concordia University in Irvine. When Blake isn’t scaling ad campaigns, you will most likely find him cooking on his Treager, surfing at the beach, or cruising down PCH with a group of friends.

Key Takeaways

  • Why a super-slick brand advertising video completely crapped the CAC bed.
  • How a no-brainer concept capitalized on the COVID quarantine in an ad that will probably outlast the virus.
  • A hit? Or a miss? How long should you run a massively funded ad before you pull the plug?
  • Why one video style NEVER works across all platforms -- and which kind you should run where.
  • Why there’s no such thing as a “one stop shop” when it comes to getting the greatest variety of ad concepts to test.

The Transcript

Season 1
,
Episode
07
Transcript

Host:  Dylan Carpenter

Alrighty everybody, welcome to another episode of Rich Ad, Poor Ad. We're back in business this fine Friday afternoon. Today we have a very special guest: Blake Driver. He is the co-founder of the Advisory Marketing Agency and this guy makes it rain ads like nobody else, and I guarantee you have seen some of these ads floating around, no doubt about it. Hey, thanks for coming on Blake. We love to kind of give you a little introduction about yourself there.


Guest:  Blake Driver

Hey, thanks for having me. Stoked to be on and dive into these ads. Just a real quick introduction here: been doing paid media buying for about five years, probably coming up on six years now and yeah, that's just super-high-level overview of it. I think everyone else could go to our website to figure out more.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

Yeah, we'll give you a little plug at the end of it too to make it easy for everybody else, but cool. So everybody, Blake you want to go ahead and tell everybody what we're talking about today?


Guest:  Blake Driver

Yeah, so we're going to be talking about two different ads that I ran for Truff Hot Sauce, and I'm sure that many of you have seen some of them. So we're going to start off with talking about the poor performing ad and then I think we'll get into the other.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

Yeah, so everybody we're talking about some Truff Hot Sauce. Their ads are all over the place and we're going to go ahead and dive in on that Poor Ad, rip it apart, tell the story behind it, why it didn't work, what could have made it a little bit better, but I'll go ahead and kind of start off and kind of read off that Poor Ad actually. I'm going to read it off for you and get nitty gritty up in this. So "Some of the best barbecue plus the best black truffle hot sauce. Who would have thought? You got to try it. The world's first black truffle hot sauce." All right Blake, rip it apart man.


Guest:  Blake Driver

Yeah, so the video of this is it's a really high produced video of our black truffle hot sauce being dripped over this really tasty and delicious barbecue plate from Slab, which is a really tasty barbecue joint out in LA. It's really high production quality shot with a really good camera, slow-mo of the truck going over pretty much everything on the plate, and the reason why... Truff, we came into the mindset with Truff is in the business to make people hungry, right? If you look at the Instagram, if you look at our ads, they're all tailored to make you hungry because if you're hungry, the sauce looks good on the food and you're going to buy the sauce, right?

So what kind of took us by surprise is we had a lot of these type of ads produced and while they're amazing for organic, they're amazing for brand. What we found is for direct response, they aren't our top performing ads and specifically this one. What is the main problem here is that it's too highly produced. It's not raw. So when people are in their feeds scrolling or going through their stories, the stuff that's not as highly produced, it looks more organic, right? It's more native to the platform. Whereas here, this is clearly an ad. This is something that your buddy did not shoot. It's definitely something none of your friends put together. This is a highly produced video. It's tasty, but it's definitely not something that looks native to the platform. That's part of the reason why we believe that this type of video, this style didn't perform well and specifically this video for us.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

Man, that is super interesting. The only ads we've had, we haven't had one for the quality of being too good. It just threw people off, but I've heard of this happening for other brands to be honest with you.


Guest:  Blake Driver

Yeah, I mean I think it just is too overproduced. I mean there's a chance that we might... Sometimes in the comments like, "Oh, you're dripping too much hot sauce on it", but that's good. I like to kind of make people mad, get them to comment, get it going on. Another thing is it could be people don't want to watch the whole video because it is just hot sauce being drizzled over it, but what we've kind of found out is through testing a bunch of different styles it really just boils down to we think it's too highly produced for what we're trying to do and it doesn't come off as I would say authentic or possibly engaging because of that.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

Now in y'alls opinion or for I guess more in your concept, for this ad to be a failure, did it just not hit the quota of the Rich Ads for example, or did this one just really kind of crap the bed and go negative there?


Guest:  Blake Driver

Yeah, it really just wasn't anywhere near the CAC that we needed it. So it really was underperforming compared to a lot of the stuff we had run previously, and compared to the Rich Ad it wasn't even close.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

That makes total sense.


Guest:  Blake Driver

Yeah, this was a strikeout completely.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

Man. Yeah, I mean it looks delicious. It reminds me of those ASMR videos that are just really slow and quiet, that's for sure.


Guest:  Blake Driver

Yeah, it's kind of like food porn.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

Exactly. I mean I think this would appeal to me, but hey, the numbers don't lie there. Now if you could take this ad and do something to it to make it different and make it perform better, do you think it would be a swap out that video or somehow make that video a little less quality? How would you try and revamp this bad boy or just completely start from scratch there?


Guest:  Blake Driver

Yeah, I don't know if there's anything. Something that we might be able to do if we just were like, "Hey, let's take this exact video and try to work in something to it." we might try to throw some motion graphics over it and do some speed ramping and posts to kind of like break it up a little bit and maybe catch the eye and keep people pulled in a little more, try to tell a story with the ad in the video instead. So that's something that we do, or alternatively it would be interesting if you had a person, some type of talent in the shot who you saw actually pouring it on the barbecue sauce then eating it I think might be a better approach to that. It could still be shot on a really good camera, but you can make it look more native, right? It doesn't have to look as highly produced if you do that.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

Exactly. Now this is kind of a funny concept in the back of my head, before this Rich Ad, Poor Ad side of things, is your most expensive video the Poor Ad would you say, or was it not that expensive with everything?


Guest:  Blake Driver

So this video would be more expensive for sure than the Rich Ad video that we're about to talk about.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

Oh man, that's funny. Hey, you got to love how that works out. Well, y'all be able to check this out. We're going to be screenshotting this and putting it in the show notes. I mean it looked like a killer ad, but I mean numbers don't lie. I mean at the scale y'all are at I'm sure y'all don't see a ton of data whether it's going to work for you quit or not, huh?


Guest:  Blake Driver

Yeah, pretty much. We think it's a great brand building piece. We still continue to make content like this because it's great for the brand. It lives well on organic, but just for paid, we know it's something that we'll typically stay away from.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

How long did this ad run for you think?


Guest:  Blake Driver

It probably ran for three days and had a very good amount of spend behind it where we could kind of see that it wasn't going to hit.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

Chill. Man, that was a quick little pull the trigger there.


Guest:  Blake Driver

Yeah, it's either... I mean, I feel like most of this stuff it's either you can tell within 72 hours if this thing's going to hit or not, and we have such a backlog and a steady stream of content that if something's not hitting we know we can just pull it out.  Put the next thing into rotation. And let's find something because our winners like the Rich Ad, it hits right away. First 24 hours we knew it was a success and that's what we're looking for.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

That makes total sense there. Well heck yeah, y'all make sure to check out this Poor Ad because it does not look poor, but hey, numbers don't lie there. So let's go ahead and dive into this Rich Ad. From what we kind of spoke about this outperformed all the other ads, shoot past 35% and at scale I would imagine that's massive there, but I'll go ahead and kind of start reading out that copy because this is a very different type of out here. 

So we got "Cooking at home and hand your next meal with the truffle hot sauce that's guaranteed to take your meals to the next levels of flavor. Bringing the gourmet at home." This video is very non-professional-shot, it looks like. It looks very user generated oriented. It looks super snazzy in a very different angle than the last kind of more ad. You want to go ahead and rip it apart for us?


Guest:  Blake Driver

Yeah, so we launched this ad... So this was a video ad that was already running previously, and I'll get into the video and then we'll talk about the copy after because we redid the copy on this ad recently for a specific reason. 

So the video, we had past data that had shown a ComplexCon two years ago. We shot a video of people tasting the hot sauce and it did really well. So we wanted to recreate something like that this year, and so what we decided to do is go to Smorgasbord in LA and basically would go up to people, ask if they wanted to taste test the hot sauce and then film their reactions. That's basically what we went around and did to a whole bunch of different people.

I think why this ad works really well is because you're seeing people's genuine reactions to the hot sauce, right? It's really hard to... When someone's acting you know it. It looks fake. You can tell it's fake. This right here is real because nothing's over the top. No one's like, "Oh my God", jumping up and down, screaming, running. It comes across as a real ad and very genuine, and I believe that's why this works so well. 

The unique thing about this ad is we've been able to run it for a very long time without experiencing creative fatigue I think because the ad is so genuine. It's still shot on a good camera, but it doesn't have that same high production quality feel as the Poor Ad that we were just discussing.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

No. I was about to say man, y'all either hired some really good actors or this is just some really good stuff.


Guest:  Blake Driver

Thanks. Yeah, I was saying it was just done very quickly in a day and what's interesting about this... So the copy around it, the cooking at home... So we have this ad running previously, but when COVID hit we knew we had to shift our messaging, and obviously everyone was quarantined. 

We're going to be cooking at home and they're probably going to be since they can't have new and fun experiences anymore outside of the house, we knew we wanted to kind of entice them with a new and fun experience that could happen inside the home with cooking. 

So that's our reason behind the headline, which is Bring Gourmet Home, is like "Look, you can't go out to have a gourmet meal. Well have a gourmet meal at home with Truff."


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

I love that. Yeah, that quarantine angle did some wonders. Is this one y'all are still kind of running currently and it's still performing pretty consistent with that same outview?


Guest:  Blake Driver

Yes. Yeah, it's still performing consistent and we're still running it.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

Hell yeah. Now with these, are you building these ads on the actual Facebook page as posts and then taking those posts and running them with ads or are you building these somewhere else?


Guest:  Blake Driver

I just have a... Inside of Ads Manager I just have a campaign called Ad Builder and I just build all the ads in there and then grab the post ID.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

Okay because yeah, I've been loving that more and more to where most people build an ad's manager, but shoot, if you can put it on the page and get all that social proof where it's super organic looking, that does wonders there.


Guest:  Blake Driver

Yeah, we'll post every single ad to the page, but sometimes we're just not able to make it look exactly the way we want to, be organic. Sometimes some of the copy we'll write is a little too salesy I would say to go ahead and post on organic, so it just makes more sense to kind of make it a dark post


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

That makes total sense. Y'all aren't having any ad disapprovals?


Guest:  Blake Driver

No, not really with this. With Truff it really hadn't had any problem with ad disapprovals at all.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

That makes total sense there. Yeah man, I mean I want to say I think the first ad I ever saw from y'all was that little guy dancing in the sauce. That had to have been I feel a month to a month and a half ago, and we got that white truffle sauce, and man I love it.


Guest:  Blake Driver

Yeah, thanks. So that ad has been a top performing ad for us and it's worth talking about because I think a lot of people saw that ad and I think it piqued a lot of interest. It's definitely probably one of the most different ads I've seen on social. 

It did very well, and the reason why that did well, now that's a highly produced ad, right? That ad probably costs more than the Poor Ad and it's highly produced. The reason why it worked so well was because it's weird. It's different. It's not like anything that you've probably seen on social media or used to seeing. So it's weird, it's catchy, and I think it makes you pause in the feed and that's why it does so well.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

Oh yeah. I'm 100% going to post this one because we'll make it clear to the people I found Blake on Twitter. So I want to say you retweeted one of your ads and I'm like, "Dude, I've been seeing this all over the place. I would love to catch you on this podcast." So it's probably one of the most captivating ads I've definitely seen it in a while. So I would only imagine definitely not cheap there, but hey that's a Rich Ad for sure.


Guest:  Blake Driver

Yeah and it's been really great. The one thing that we did experience with that ad I would say would be a quicker burnout than let's say the Rich Ad, and it's probably because once you've seen it, you've seen it. That would be my guess on it. Whereas maybe this ad... I don't know. It's just more genuine and human would be my understanding, but I don't really have a solid reason for why this taste testing video has been such a powerhouse versus the dancing guy, which did well for many weeks, but then kind of tapered out. That part is very interesting to me.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

That is and the way you kind of put it where the guy dancing, there's nothing special. There aren't any kind of reactions to it. So it's pretty cool the first time, but with that Rich Ad every single time it's like you see different emotions in somebody's reaction. So I think that really adds a huge personal human aspect to it, which makes this scalable without a doubt.


Guest:  Blake Driver

Yeah, definitely.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

Now how many ads do y'all kind of use actively at one time? Are y'all kind of really rolling with four to five, or are you testing 10 to 12? How quick are you finding out whether these ads are a Rich Ad or Poor Ad essentially?


Guest:  Blake Driver

Yeah, so it really depends on the week and the content and the hopper. We have a solid amount of content in the hopper, so we're usually testing around two to three ads per week, and if we see something hit then we just scale it out. It's kind of our repeating testing process that we have.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

That makes total sense. What are the odds of the ads not working, kind of turning into that Poor Ad? Would you say it's 50/50, 70/30, Rich Ad or Poor Ad. I'm kind of curious because with this hot sauce I haven't seen any bad ads where I'd be man, it's got to be really rough for it to not really work that well.


Guest:  Blake Driver

Yeah, I mean it's really hard. 80% of ads I would say fail or don't live up to the standard of the Rich Ad. If every ad was super successful then we could scale everything to the moon, but it's really just a cadence of trying new things, seeing what works and pushing it out. 

You're not going to have a superstar ad every time and that's okay, but if your superstars at 100% and you see ads that are landing at 80% to 90%. Those are great ads and we run with those. Then probably one out of every 10 we hit a superstar and then we scale that one. It really just depends. 

Sometimes we've had really good back to back ads. That's happened before where we just keep launching good ads. Now we have them, but sometimes we test for a while and nothing really hits. That's just kind of part of the creative process is just seeing what works, what doesn't and trying to tap into different audiences. We have to switch up our styles, you know? Putting out too much of the same type of content, then it becomes stale. You need to hit different angles, try completely different ads. That's kind of what we go for.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

Now with these Rich Ads, do you stick with that same copy style with that same video, or do you ever kind of switch up the angles with the copy itself, or is it more of a creative angle as you're kind of mentioning there?

Guest:  Blake Driver

It's both to be honest. Yeah, we switch up the copy angle. This angle was obviously cooked from home. We have a list of different angles that we try to work and hit off of that we think resonates with different people, but we also try to work in those angles into the videos that we produce as well.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

Man, that's pretty killer. Now for a brand this large, how do y'all come about coming up with these videos? Is it really just getting a badass set together, trying to get as many different variations as possible, then it's kind of testing them out? Or do y'all go in with a game plan to kind of say, "Hey, let's get a video of this, this." I understand the Rich Ad was 100% game plan, but are most of those ads that perform pretty good, are they mostly kind of played out pretty solidly?


Guest:  Blake Driver

It really depends. Yeah, the Rich Ad was obviously planned. That was an idea that myself and Nikki and the co founders of Truff had. We just had a gut instinct that'd work, and it did.  But one of the things that we also do is we have a roster of talent that we use and have created over the years of just different people. We found different creatives are good at different things.

Some creatives are really good at creating POB content. Other creatives are good at the FX. It just goes on. So we basically tap into these different creatives to see what they come up with, and then also just being on how we came up with that Truff dancing video is Nick G was able to find a guy who was creating videos like that, these really cool animated videos. We hit him up and said, "Hey, can you make this into a Truff ad?" and then from there we got it and we ran it.

So it's really keeping a look out for that, knowing different creative people who have different talents and tapping into them and seeing what they can do. I think creatives, you give them some direction and let them run and see what they can come up with and sometimes it hits really well. Sometimes it doesn't, but it's always a process.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

Oh yeah, I mean you're never going to that one hit wonder out of the gate so it's good to have those multiple variations there. Well shoot, we luckily dove into the Poor Ad, which lasts three days, bad performance. 

Let's go ahead and cut that bad boy, but that top ad man, that one just consistently got 30%-35% above most of those other top ads there. So shoot, those numbers don't lie to where I wasn't expecting that kind of Poor Ad there. 

So, Blake man, that was honestly super juicy. I love that stuff. How can people get in touch with you? What's your website, Facebook, LinkedIn? How can people get in touch with you and stay up to date with what you're doing at Truff?


Guest:  Blake Driver

Yeah, if you want to give me a follow on Twitter that'd be dope. It's Blake A Driver, so that's how you can follow me on Twitter. You could also visit our agency website. That's still in the process of being made, but it's advisory.marketing. So yeah, those are the best two ways. You could also send me an email [email protected] as well. If you want to hit up and chat I'm always open to talk.


Host:  Dylan Carpenter

Well, heck yeah. Y'all, I hope you enjoyed this one. It was a very hot, hot, hot podcast. Make sure to check out Truff Hot Sauce online. Hey man once again, thank you so much for the time, and hey I hope you have a good rest of your day over there.


Guest:  Blake Driver

Thanks, you too.

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About The Podcast

Jason Hornung is the founder and Creative Director at JH Media LLC, the world’s #1 direct response advertising agency focusing exclusively on the Facebook ads platform. Jason’s proprietary methods for ad creation, audience selection and scaling are responsible for producing $20 million + of profitable sales for his clients EVERY YEAR

Zach Johnson

Zach Johnson is Founder of FunnelDash, the Agency Growth and Finance Company, with their legendary Clients Like Clockwork solutions. Under Zach’s leadership, FunnelDash has grown to over 5,000+ agency customers managing over $1 Billion in ad spend across 41,000 ad accounts on. Zach’s private clients have included influencers such as Dr. Axe, Marie Forleo, Dan Kennedy, Dean Graziozi to name a few. Zach is also a noted keynote speaker and industry leader who’s now on a mission to partner with agencies to fund $1 Billion in ad spend over the next 5 years.

Dylan Carpenter

Dylan Carpenter will be diving into what he and his team are seeing in 200+ accounts on Google and Facebook when it comes to trends, new offerings, and new opportunities. With over $10 million in Facebook/Instagram ad spend, Dylan Carpenter had the pleasure to work with Fortune 500 companies, high investment start-ups, non-profits, and local businesses advertising everything from local services to physical and digital products. Having worked at Facebook as an Account Manager and now with 5+ years of additional Facebook Advertising under my belt, I’ve worked alongside 60+ agencies and over 500+ businesses. I work with a team of Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn experts to continue to help companies and small businesses leverage the power of digital marketing.

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