Magazine article Marketing

Conclusions on the Intrusions of Advertising

Magazine article Marketing

Conclusions on the Intrusions of Advertising

Article excerpt

Quentin Bell, in this esteemed organ, recently raised some thorny questions about the ways in which advertising works -- and naturally took the opportunity to promote the blessed virtues of PR which (quite coincidentally) happens to be the way he earns his diamond-encrusted crust.

His diatribe was prompted by an article of mine (also in this esteemed organ) i which I said "Ads intrude. They grab people's attention". He claimed, incidentally, that I said all advertising intrudes. I certainly did not. Many kinds of ads -- eg, classifieds and recruitment -- do not intrude. But we'll le that pass. It is hardly fair to expect PR folk to be strictly accurate, they don't adhere to the ASA code.

But it is certainly true that most consumer goods advertising aims to intrude. It aims to draw brands to the attention of uninterested potential customers. That is why ads need to be unusual, to be original, to be noticeable, to be creative. In general, human beings spend very little time worrying about what brand of toothpaste, or deodorant, or confectionery they are next going to buy. Ads must interrupt their mental somnolence in order to make them think -- for 3 seconds or so -- about the benefits of a particular toothpaste, or deodorant, o confectionery. Then they can get back to daydreaming.

Naturally some clod-hopping ads, in their anxiety to intrude, overstep the mark and irritate. Those are the ads which have inspired Quentin's gilded wrath. It is, however, worth noting, first, that ads irritate users of a product far less often than they irritate non-users. …

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