Advertising and how running ads in a series increases awareness
Posted by jorbell on November 8, 2008
Leo Burnett, an advertising executive renown for creating icons such as the Jolly Green Giant, the 7up “Spot” and Tony the Tiger amongst others once said:
“If you don’t get noticed, you don’t have anything. You just have to be noticed, but the art is in getting noticed naturally, without screaming or without tricks. It is not the creation of new and tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships.”
Raising awareness of your product service can be achieved with a strong, consistent campaign over an extended period of time. This does not mean repeating the same advert month after month in a publication because, while it can be effective, it is dependent on the proposition being strong in the first place. Just giving an ad time to bed-in does not guarantee success and will certainly not become any more persuasive if it does not produce the desired results early on. Indeed, research has shown that advertising is effective either immediately, or not at all.
If you flick across the pages of any newspaper or magazine you will spot familiar imagery and patterns. Many brands catch the eye purely by font they use or the graphics featured in their logo. In the latter case our brains are long past the need to see a company or product name to know who or what it is. There is a connection we make which grabs our attention. If we have purchased from them before it’s almost as if we are meeting someone we know in the street – we pause for a moment and say hello and the same can work with advertising. It’s comfortable feeling and it’s as if the message is speaking to us.
Advertising now takes many forms and is no longer confined to printed and televisual media. According to media communications agency Carat, online advertising spend is set to have a 22.3 per cent share in the UK in 2008, behind newspapers at 30.3 per cent, television at 25.6 per cent but ahead of magazines at 11.4 per cent. With so many messages competing for out attention we need to plan our approach with care and precision.
Online magazines for example are a new and exciting format that takes advertising and promotion to another level. On paper we expect a static image but the flexibility of the online model allows creativity in getting the message across using animation and video.
One possible way to grab a readers attention could be by a slow reveal across different pages or issues where the message is simply intriguing but not obvious. A date and no other information apart from a logo and web address is going to invoke curiosity in many especially if they have purchased from the company before. It is saying, “Something new is happening. You don’t want to miss out on this!”
There is no basic rule of thumb that says what style of campaign will work because there are too many variables involved. You have to really know your target market. The size of your ad and it’s presentation is critical. It would be tempting to fill the available space with as much information as possible but this runs the risk of nothing standing out. You have about three seconds to draw the reader in so making an impact is crucial. There are many ways to do this and it may be that a subtle, understated approach yields the best results. Very often, less is more and this applies also to colour and choice of imagery.
Sometimes a left-field approach will work wonders. Who can forget the Cadbury Gorilla playing the drums in an ad for chocolate? There’s no obvious tie-in but the simple use of familiar colours from the packaging make this certain of a high recall. We are used to seeing certain things in a certain way and when the status quo is challenged we sit up and take notice.
The key is to develop a relationship with your customer. Guide them through with a simple message and a strong offering. Any business is looking for a positive return on investment (ROI) so by creating a synergy with the consumer you are increasing the likelihood of coming to you. Do this regularly and they will keep coming back.
If you would like to know more about the psychology of advertising effectiveness you may want to look out for Effective Advertising: Understanding When, Why, and How Advertising Works by Gerard Tellis (SAGE Publications, 2003). It’s a bit pricey but a very informative guide.
Tellis has studied the subject for many years as part of his role as professor of marketing at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business plus in visiting positions at Erasmus University, Rotterdam and the University of Cambridge.
The book provides a meta-analysis of advertising, marketing, consumer behavior, and psychology over the past 50 years. He uses scientific evidence to question numerous myths about advertising effectiveness while presenting new theories which are backed by extensive research.