Perceive it as a cost to be justified by sales return in the
The more enlightened users value advertising as a brand-
building investment – rather like capital expenditure on
plant and machinery – to provide a long – term return.
Investments have to be justified, and advertising is no
Accountability here is multi-dimensional.
WHY ADVERTISE ?
In most advertising strategies there will be a section on campaign objectives. Inevitably it will include some of these tasks :-
Make an impact.
Evoke an immediate response (sell off the page or get more information).
Create favourable impressions.
Change perceptions (mental repositioning or overcome prejudice.
Consolidate a position.
Enthuse the staff and the trade.
WHY ADVERTISE ?
An enhanced view of advertising will result from being sensitive to the following issues :-
Appreciate how consumers’ predisposition towards advertising can affect its roles.
Consider not only the explicit objectives but, more importantly, the implicit roles of advertising that reflect the growing importance of emotional effects in today’s highly competitive advertising environment.
Realize how the media environment in which an advertisement appears can affect its role.
Understand how roles vary depending on the different stages of a brand’s development.
Recognize when different roles apply, depending on the type of advertising.
The role of the advertising is to make the brand respected and sought after, using values such as heritage, wit, humour, masculinity, street credibility, fashionability, sociability and strength.
PERSUASION ROLE : HARD SELL VERSUS SOFT SELL
The ‘trickster theory’ can be applied to advertising. The ‘trickster’ in politics knows how to heighten consciousness of a cause and raise an audience to a state of frenzy and conviction.
The vendor still has to rely on his product messages to make a sale, but his success depends more on his presentation and his personality.
Consumers want to be charmed into buying through cleverness, humour and honesty. They expect advertising to exaggerate, sing praises, transform products. They find good advertisements fascinating and compelling.
Modern society knows that advertising has to be truthful. This does not prevent consumers from being sceptical about product claims. They feel they have the right to be critical, to argue, to reject. This brings sharply into focus an often overlooked role for advertising : the disarming function .
There are certain areas of marketing where a cynical attitude prevails among consumers :
Addressing a male audience with technical claims
Addressing secretaries with claims about what an employment agency will do for them.
Making financial investment claims.
Making public services like British Rail seem efficient.
If British Rail told commuters in their advertising that 90 per cent of trains run on time it would attract the cynical response of ‘So what? Mine’s always late.’
As another example, insurance companies are second only to second-hand car salesman when it comes to mistrust.
The trick is to charm people into believing, and the best way to alter opinions is not by confrontation and belligerence but by gentle persuasion – making people want to believe.
This is probably one of the most important, and most under-estimated roles of advertising. There are several aspects of the reassurance role :-
Big safe brands advertise more than small untried ones and consequently provide more reassurance. Having different advertisements reinforces this role.
Expensively produced advertisements can lend status and respectability in markets where this is relevant, e.g. cars and airlines. It is irrelevant whether the Superman/Superwoman advertisements for British Airways are credible or not. What is significant is the statement the advertisements make: that BA are taking this market seriously; that they are big and popular .
Justifying a premium price Witness the growth of the premium sector in many pensive things. The advertising can help them to justify paying the price, e.g. BMW cars.
Justifying a lower price On the other side of the coin advertising can provide reassurance that a lower price does not necessarily mean lower quality. Examples are the themes for Sainsbury’s: ‘Good food costs less when it’s Sainsbury’s’, and for Virgin Atlantic airlines: ‘We cut fares not corners.’
Solving consumer problems, as opposed to inward-looking listing of product features.
SOCIAL TARGETING ROLE
Here, the role of advertising is to link a brand with a particular consumer target. Advertising thus provides a means of social identity.
Products do not exist in a vacuum; they fit into people’s lives. The symbolic value of brands has been referred to before. It is important therefore to understand the role of the product category. How is it used? What do people want out of it? How do they feel when they are using it?
This examination leads inevitably to the issue of realism and fantasy in advertising.
People need both in their lives.
This is why the makers of perfume and boxed chocolates resort to aspirational fantasy.
Consumers like to be treated as equals by the advertise.
They do not want their intelligence insulted.
Yet many advertisers misunderstand this fundamental role.
Neither do consumers deserve to be patronized.
Many airlines assume people have never flown and glamorize their advertising.
The truth is most air travellers find the experience boring, the service as plastic as the food, and no conventional seat really comfortable on a long flight.
Developing new styles in advertising which place consumers in something of a dilemma.
On the one hand they want their imaginations stretched; on the other their innate conservatism leads them to believe that the normal is right and the unusual is wrong. .
Nowadays consumers show a more open acceptance of unconventional styles, and the planner should encourage movement away from the safe option.
Consumers nowadays are ‘advertising literate’. They feel that if advertisements can intrude through their television, radio or daily paper, then they in turn have every right to criticize the advertising. The paying customer has every right to comment on the performance. Thus, making a likeable advertisements is as important to the audience as communicating a relevant message. More and more it is becoming a case of the style is the advertisement; and how the effect is achieved is becoming more important than what is actually said.