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

By Max Sutherland | Go to book overview

9 MESSAGES, REMINDERS AND REWARDS:
HOW ADS SPEAK TO US

With this chapter we begin to enter the mystical realm of the creative department of the advertising agency, whose art has traditionally been intuitive rather than encoded in any set of well formulated principles. The way an ad speaks to us can influence not only how the ad works but also if it works. The creative team's job is to design and make ads and good creative teams are paid a lot of money for their intuitive sense of what will be effective advertising. Their task is to make ads that are not only interesting and attention-grabbing but will also influence our brand choice and leave us feeling warm toward the brand and not alienated by it.

Articulating what makes for creative success in advertising is an underdeveloped science. In the past, researchers and psychologists who intruded on the creative team's domain risked finding themselves under hostile attack in enemy territory. However, their role has increasingly become more accepted, leading as it does to better understanding of the principles of psychological processing to underpin better predictions of ad effectiveness. In this chapter we bring these psychological principles to bear on messages, reminders and rewards and then in the following chapter we examine the individual elements of ads.


'News' advertising

As we saw in the previous chapter, we tend to process ads differently depending on whether we feel we are being talked to as prospective customers or whether we see ourselves as merely bystanders looking on. A related way of conceptualizing this is by asking, 'Am I being informed or entertained?' because we can process an ad as 'news'—or as 'entertainment'.

Some brands are heavily into 'news' commercials. Others are more 'entertainment' focused. There is evidence that ads seem to work

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