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

By Max Sutherland; Alice K. Sylvester | Go to book overview

Ad style--the brand's attire

A brand's advertising needs to be thought of as one of its most visible features. It is an attribute of the brand, no less real than the price, the package and what is inside it. A brand's advertising represents the brand's attire if you like. Imagine your mother walking in with her eyebrow pierced, sporting a tattoo and dressed like a 16-year-old. Just as it would be disorienting if our friends and family suddenly became wildly inconsistent in the way they dress, so too do we expect the brands we value to maintain a reasonable degree of consistency in their substance, image and dress. If the brand capriciously changes its style of attire every few months it would not only be disorienting, it would be difficult to get to know the brand. So we expect brands to remain true to themselves if we are going to get to know them and be attracted to them.

Advertisers have traditionally not been encouraged by agencies to get involved in advertising style. Some creatives fear that constants like those discussed above can all too easily become 'creative handcuffs' that restrict their freedom and make it harder to come up with great ideas. There is some truth in this. Just as a constant strategy limits the creative team to only those ideas that are on-strategy so too does a constant style constrain the team to ideas that can be executed on-style, that is, consistent with the brand's style.

A brand's advertising style is a component of its ad strategy because it is part of the way the brand's communications are identified in people's minds. Advertising is part of a brand's wardrobe attire. The brand's advertising constants and its advertising style are therefore valuable equities; with successful brands, they are woven into the fabric of the brand, constituting part of its heritage and thereby lending stronger identification and presence to it. Hence, it is legitimate to build in to the strategy brief a constraint in regards to ad style within which the creative process must work.

The winds of change are beginning to blow and an increasing number of advertisers and agencies recognize the benefits of maintaining a unique and consistent style. The style you choose can be a powerful form of nonverbal communication that identifies you and your ads.


Summary

Style is such a subtle characteristic of advertising that our language is hardly adequate for analyzing and discussing it. To maximize ad effectiveness, maintain a unique and consistent style. To do this, it is useful to understand

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures vii
  • Tables xi
  • Acknowledgments xii
  • About the Authors xiv
  • Part a Why Advertising Has Remained a Mystery for So Long 1
  • Introduction 3
  • 1: Influencing People 24
  • 2: Image and Reality 32
  • 3: Subliminal Advertising 42
  • 4: Conformity 53
  • 5: The Advertising Message 64
  • 6: Silent Symbols and Badges of Identity 74
  • 7: Vicarious Experience and Virtual Reality 83
  • 8: Messages, Reminders and Rewards 97
  • 9: What's This I'm Watching? the Elements That Make Up an Ad 99
  • 10: The Limits of Advertising 134
  • Part B What Works, What Doesn't, and Why 137
  • Introduction 139
  • 11: Continuous Tracking 142
  • 12: New Product Launches 148
  • 13: Planning Campaign Strategy Around Consumers' Mental Filing Cabinets 155
  • 14: What Happens When You Stop Advertising? 161
  • 15: The Effectiveness of Funny Ads 177
  • 16: Learning to Use 15-Second Tv Commercials 189
  • 17: Seasonal Advertising 191
  • 18: Underweight Advertising 197
  • 19: Why Radio Ads Aren'T Recalled 206
  • 20: Maximizing Ad Effectiveness 220
  • 21: Sequels 228
  • 22: Corporate Tracking of Image and Issues 229
  • 23: The Web 238
  • 24: 'Mental Reach' 248
  • 25: Measurement of Advertising Effects in Memory 266
  • 26: The Buy-Ology of Mind 285
  • 27: Conclusion 287
  • Appendix How to Prompt Ad Awareness 291
  • Notes 304
  • Index 316
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