Thursday 7 December 2017

How to get Ahead in Advertising

The function of advertising is to inform and persuade. Before you can do that, you have to grab the attention of the prospect. This can be difficult. Attracting attention means diverting the mind from other more important issues. This difficulty often leads to over prioritising entertainment, so that one remembers the advertisement but not the brand being promoted.

Years ago, I did some small scale research which involved showing prospects cut down versions of commercials with the branding components missing. The commercials were selected to make the case, but I was still surprised by the high proportion of viewers who couldn’t recall the brands. Particularly since these were heavily promoted brands.

Some advertisements having attracted attention then fail to suggest good reasons for prospects to think better of the brand.

Rosser Reeves invented the concept of the Unique Selling Proposition, where a brand offered a valuable benefit which was either unique to the brand or was not capitalised by competitors. Many successful brands benefited from this USP concept in the second half of the 20th century. Sadly it seems to be less common now.

Which is why the brands that sell on a USP benefit stand out.

Think of brands who attract attention and then suggest positive user benefits and Direct Line comes to mind. They use Harvey Keitel in his wise guy persona. Then he provides tangible benefits not promoted by competitors.

Landlord protection for unpaid rents is one. A taxi ride home after a car accident is another. This is good advertising and as such is very effective.

Insurance companies suffer from an increasing level of customer complaints and simply trumpeting clichés makes for waste.

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