Magazine article Marketing

Exception to the Rule of Uninvited Marketing Tools

Magazine article Marketing

Exception to the Rule of Uninvited Marketing Tools

Article excerpt

What do barking dogs, shrill car alarms, road diggers, police sirens, mothers-in-law and Advance Telephone Systems have in common?

Intrusion is the answer: they are all uninvited gatecrashers invading our calm without so much as a by-your-leave; especially for local radio ads like the last one in my list.

But, hang on a minute -- according to the wise Winston Fletcher, the raison d'etre of all advertising is -- yes -- to intrude. In a recent article he wrote: "Ads draw brands to the attention of uninterested potential customers. Ads intrude. They grab people's attention. Only in exceptional circumstances do consumers seek out ads."

He's quite right, of course -- but it raises two issues that bear examination.

First, when you think about it, there is only one marketing activity that doesn't intrude: PR. Direct mail hits your hall carpet unannounced. Sales promotion women (why rarely men?) foist tastings or leaflets onto you uninvited on station concourses. And broadcast advertising -- well, I mean...

But only the media relations aspect of PR (ie, editorial) requires "consumers to seek it out". It cannot therefore be intrusive, by definition; and it seems to me this is a tremendous advantage not yet sufficiently seized upon by us shy and retiring PR types in our efforts to squeeze bigger budgets out of clients.

Which brings me to the second point. At what point does ad intrusion become ad irritation? With the proliferation of the media bringing us the same ads more often, I suspect more often than not. …

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