Advertising and the Mind of the Consumer: What Works, What Doesn't, and Why

By Max Sutherland | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

The subject of advertising seems to be riddled with mystique and apparent contradictions. This book resolves some of those contradictions. It had its beginnings in regular columns for various trade publications and journals; Part B brings together some of those articles and subsequent articles and more material can be found at www.adandmind.com.

This book is not just aimed at advertisers and their ad agencies but also at the people to whom they advertise. As David Ogilvy, a leading advertising expert, said (in the chauvinistic 1960s): 'The consumer is not a moron. She is your wife!'1 Our wives, our husbands, our partners, our children are all consumers. The consumer is not an idiot. The consumer is you and me.

Many years ago the advertiser's dilemma was expressed in this way: 'I know that half my advertising is wasted—but I don't know which half!'2 But developments in market research are beginning to change all that by better enabling advertisers to identify what works and what doesn't.3 This book draws on the experience of tracking week by week the effects of hundreds of advertising campaigns over a period of more than fifteen years.

Almost everybody is interested in advertising. The average consumer is exposed to hundreds of ads every day. By the time we die we will have spent an estimated one and a half years watching TV commercials.4 Yet advertising continues to be something of a mystery.

The response 'Gee, I didn't know that' to an advertisement tends to be the exception. A round trip special price to New York for $400 is news. Ads that announce the release of new products like iPhone, the Segway, self cleaning windows or voice-operated com puters are news. And if we are someone who is compulsive about germs maybe Mr Clean with a new disinfectant that kills germs 50 per cent better than the old Mr Clean might also be news. With news advertising we can easily recognize the potential of the advertising to affect us.

-3-

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