Why bother advertising?

From: Alex Tillman <>
Date: Thu 09 May 2002 07:55:08 -0600

Steve Phariss wrote:

"I am not afried of going to google and seeing what
products are
available that advertising needed beyond
search engine
placement. it is the sheep of this world that the
advertisers are
trying to hook, I am not a sheep."

It's funny how often I've heard this refrain. "Why do
advertisers bother? I never even pay attention to
ads." If this were true of everyone who said it,
companies would simply be wasting gobs of money on
advertising, and would never see any increase in sales
when increasing advertising. Clearly that's not the
case, so what is the answer? (And I don't believe that
it is "The world is pretty much sheep")

It seems to me that the power in advertising is not in
soliciting an immediate action, but in applying a
subtle, almost imperceptible, perception factor when
the consumer finally does initiate action on their
own. So your store is out of your favorite toothpaste,
and you must choose another brand. All of the sudden,
your brain somehow starts weighing the myriad of
options in front of you, and you start eliminating
some brands and narrowing your options. Some may seem
like "off brands", because your memory doesn't recall
ever being exposed to the name (most likely in an ad,
unless your friends typically discuss the benefits of
various toothpastes at get togethers) and your choices
may include only those that you've at least heard of
(probably from ads you can't even consciously
remember). If this happens, those ads that "only
sheep" get hooked on, just bought your attention and
got their product on the short list.

You can believe that you are somehow impervious to all
the messages lobbed daily into your cranium, because
you never rush out and do anything based on an ad. But
that's not how it works. Your brain has millions of
decisions to make every week, and it puts as many of
those on "auto pilot" as possible, so you aren't stuck
standing 20 minutes debating which toothpaste really
will give you whiter teeth and fresher breath.
Effective ads work on the autopilot, not the
conscious, so if they do their job right, you'll never
even notice their influence.

That being said I do agree with you that intrusive
ads, such as the ubiquitous pop-up ad for the spy cam
create more ill-will than anything else, and will
ensure that many people (you and me both) will never
purchase their products. In general, I think if you
are trying to figure out how to force consumers to be
exposed to your message, you've made a serious
tactical blunder.

Received on Thu May 09 2002 - 08:55:08 CDT


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