What was the last advertisement you responded to? You may have trouble even remembering. Most of us would rather not admit that we were convinced by an advertisement to buy a product or service, learn more, or sign up for something. It’s human nature to want to take ownership of our ideas and thoughts. It’s how we make ourselves unique after all. Advertising doesn’t convince us to be ourselves! Or, does it? So, when we think of advertising, we conjure up the image of an internet pop-up trying to tempt us with secrets to medicine that doctors hate – typical click bait. Or a flashy mailer with some ridiculous stock photography trying to show how cool we’d be if we bought a vacation to somewhere cool. These things wouldn’t work on us – would they?
We respond to advertising every day whether we like it or not. But it’s not as malicious as it sounds. That’s because the best advertising today is not trying to “sell”, trick us or push us to buy something we don’t need. While these tactics will probably exist until the end of time, the most successful brands around the world have long since shifted to focusing on the emotional value of their products and services. This is why you can find so many webinars on the importance of telling a good story and why social media has become such a powerful tool to grow your brand. The same psychological response that causes people to deny advertising has worked on them, is what draws them in to be a part of a story. Individuality resonates, and when a company focuses on the emotional connection to their customers they tend to transcend advertising in their customers’ minds at the same time.
Like a company that unabashedly celebrates their product with toilet humor. Because you smile when you think about it and it tickles your more childish side.
Or when a company takes a stand on a social issue. Because even if you didn’t really have an opinion on it you respect that they didn’t shy away from it.
Or when a detergent company, of all things, completely embraces meme culture and the art of the switch-a-roo. Because you admit it caught you a couple times and made you think.
Ok, so these are all the examples of advertising I responded to last year. I didn’t buy any products from the examples above…but I did tell a story about them. And, it will affect how I see these brands in the future. That’s in line with the point I’m trying to make about advertising today. It’s personal. So, what has convinced you?