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

By Max Sutherland | Go to book overview

26 'MENTAL REACH': THEY SEE YOUR AD BUT
DOES IT GET THROUGH?
Whether communicating the corporate or communicating the brand, an ad must generally break through in order to work most efficiently. In this era of TiVo and digital video recorders (DVRs), when so many ads are fast forwarded, this remains true. Fast forwarded commercials may have an effect if the ad has broken through and been noted previously.1 However, many ads are mediocre at breaking through in the first place. Others are compelling and involve us. Still others can be so boring that even if we don't fast forward them, we skip over them mentally or tune them out and we can't recognize ever having seen them.Reach is a media term that simply means the percentage of people who have had an 'opportunity to see' that ad. But even if people are in front of the screen, to what extent does the ad reach them mentally and touch their minds as well as their eyes? And if it is does, just what gets through? This chapter focuses on the difference between 'media reach' (how many have an 'opportunity to see') and 'mental reach'.Let us look first at what people generally do when they see an ad. We will focus on print ads for the moment and come back to TV and the web later in the chapter. In an earlier chapter we saw that in order to understand an ad, people seem to go through a process similar to the following:
1. First, they recognize that it is an ad.
2. They then immediately try to identify what it is an ad for. They look for something familiar that corresponds to a memory address that they recognize—something that already exists in their minds. Usually this is a brand or a product category.
3. When they have located a memory address, their minds can then store any new information that is in the ad in that pigeonhole.

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