The truth of advertising – please forgive my phrasing – is that you get what you pay for. Ad agencies hate the likes of Gerry Harvey and his self-made cronies who like to produce their own TV and radio commercials in house. Putting aside the ad industry’s self interest in loss of potential revenue, they do have a point. Making great advertising that genuinely delivers a message is a lot more difficult than most people think. More to the point, it isn’t just about striding into the main street with a loud hailer and shouting at people. There is just too much going on and these days consumers don’t have to watch, read or listen to your ad – they have a choice. I have to confess I watch most of my TV these days through Foxtel IQ –meaning I fast forward through the ad breaks.
Great advertising that engages people’s intellect and emotions takes great insight and skill to develop. More to the point, you need to think about actually building a relationship with your customers. Advertising is much more akin to a person who wants to win the heart of their beloved. That’s where great brand strategy comes in. If your advertising assumes that relationships are formed on the basis of logical, fact-based decision-making you are in for a rude shock. Great advertising like romance, engages the emotions. Advertising strategy that consists of nothing more than a pitch for business is the romantic equivalent of the guy who strides up to a girl on the dance floor and immediately asks if she would marry him. It’s pretty ugly and more than likely the result is utter failure, to say nothing of blowing any chance of a future together.
Just booking your place at the Saturday night dance isn’t enough. You need to think about what you’re going to wear, how you’re going to behave and how you are going to position yourself so that the girl (or guy) of your dreams starts to notice you and WANTS to form a relationship.
That’s what great advertising does – it ignites feelings and prompts thoughts that turn to action. But great advertising also takes skill and if you buy cheap, you’ll probably get cheap. Of course the reverse applies. Just spending a million bucks doesn’t guarantee success. Buyer beware.