Are you a "slave" to the Advertising Icon?
Why are things the way they are?
(Writer's note--this is a hub that talks about advertising symbols and the products they represent. This hub is in no way a personal endorsement of any of the products in the photos. Thanks. Kenneth).
It's the way things have always been in television advertisements. Huge companies spend billions with equally-big advertising agencies mostly-located in New York City, to get you and I to see, hear, and remember their company and whatever item or service they are selling. It would seem to be that simple.
Look beyond the ad icon
But is it? No. Not like the early days of advertising when we would see "Eat at Joe's" written with barn paint on a wooden fence that stood along the sidewalk in one of the businest parts of town. Or how about the simplicity of that same guy, "Joe," who owned the cafe in that one-line ad, "Eat at Joes," who one day hired an unemployed man to walk up and down the sidewalk in that same busy part of town while wearing a sandwich sign (no pun intended) with "Eat at Joe's" on the front and back?
I think that this is where today's seemingly-endless barrage of media ads and mix-in those well-lit billboards that almost block our view, and wham bam, there goes another million bucks into the big company and big ad agency's always-open hands to retrieve our cash we have spent on their product advertised so much that we almost felt brainwashed into buying those "New! Improved! Super, Long-Lasting Men's Briefs made From the Newly-Discovered Wonder Material: Astro-Tarp Guaranteed to Last a Lifetime! We Stand Behind Our Promises!"
What is the "hook" in this ad?
What draws you to a product?
We seen and heard that one ad so much that we could quote the ad word-by-word. But that was the entire idea of the ad. Throw in the spokesman for the "Handy Dandy Bommer Brief Company," a Super-Man-type of guy who is built better than former-Mr. Universe (of years ago), Dave Draper, tan and all. His name is "Billy Brief," and that is all he is wearing in the television ads, a pair of "Handy Dandy Briefs," with a pair of work boots worn by the blue collar construction workers always whistling at girls in New York City.
So . . .there is the "You can trust this product," hook, "Billy Brief," with that great toothy-smile and perfectly-combed blond hair. I mean, if this were reality, hey, I would buy a case of these amazing briefs. You never know when you will need extra briefs and since the ads said that they will last a lifetime, what a deal I would get.
Before I pass by the real subject of this story, please allow me to point out that this "Billy Brief," character, if real, would first, get our attention and when we hear the brief-but-believable ad script, we would have "Handy Dandy Bommer Brief Company," lodged in our heads and the moment after we see this television or radio commercial, we couldn't get "Billy" out of our thoughts. This was the plan of the ad agency that the "Bommer Brief Co.," paid over 20-million dollars to accomplish this task.
A true advertising classic
Another type of advertising dollar
To seal the deal, the brief company threw in an additional 10-million bucks for the ad agency to buy up magazine ads (preferably Sports Afield, Sports Illustrated, mostly men-based magazines) and a few print ads in the nation's highest-circulated daily newspapers. Ad agencies and advertising itself gives validity to the saying, "to make money, you got to spend money."
In my working days, I spent 23 years in the newspaper business and that included designing display ads, selling display ads and dealing with huge ad agencies as I mentioned in the above paragraphs and I didn't really understand how a huge company can spend over $5-million dollars a week, estimated, and reap over $20-million dollars in sales and profits. (e.g. the early beginnings of the Coca-Cola company). It would seem to me that if a company is already worth in the billions, just scrimp, save, and manage your bottom line.
Spending "does" make money
But if Coke had followed "my" laymen's advice, we would not have "The Real Thing" with us today. Or the Pepsi Generation frolicking and playing volleyball on the beach.
Another ploy of America's huge corporations is to spend big bucks just to keep us from listening or seeing their competitor's newest soda or feature for our car we bought thanks to a television ad we saw just last night. "Audience Protection," is what this ploy is called in some advertising circles. We might look upon this as a silly, insecure business act, but watch your television tonight and count the number of McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's ads. Are they all pushing a new, revolutionary burger? No. They are mostly keeping your interest at peak level and creating disinterest in you to see what the other fast-food giants are talking about.
"Some" ads simply flop
Any "green hand" advertising agency employee or freelance ad designer will tell you that even with the always-changing genre of multi-media advertising strategies and plans, there are the basics that are always present:
- 1.) The attention-compeller, or "hook."
- 2.) The brief "tell-all' about the product--who uses it and how many; what makes "this" product better than the nearest competitor's product.
- 3.) The "declaration to buy" this product and by using the operative-words: "Now," "Hurry," and lines like: "This product will not last long."
* and while the commercial or radio "spot" is running, there is a special company symbol to always keep "the" advertising company name present in your memory and on radio, a cute jingle or sound that first is so annoying, you sing or hum it all day, then end up buying that product and you really do not know why.
What is your All-time Favorite TV commercial, Radio spot or Print ad?
Read below text carefully
This, my friends, is effective advertising.
Before I go, I have three final questions about advertising to ask you:
- 1.) Would you buy a famous company's product if their symbol were not on the ad?
- 2.) Would you think that your favorite soda, chicken, burger or car was the same "if" their jingle or icon was not in the ad somewhere?
- 3.) Would you really be satisfied with your product, but all the while think it was a "knock-off," of the real thing?
These are important questions to ask yourself the next time you are out on a shopping spree. Why should you ask yourself this question? Well, you could end-up saving money if you see a product under another name that does the same thing as your slightly-higher priced product does and you just might be more-satisfied with that product that you have been passing by all of this time.
Are you ready to have your eyes opened?
Finally. Ask yourself this question: "Honestly, why am I really buying this product?" Is your answer:
- 1.) I saw it lots in an ad on television or heard it a lot on radio.
- 2.) I believed what "a" focus group (hired by the product's company) said.
- 3.) I saw others buying the product, so it had to be good.
If you answered with 2.) or 3.), get some backbone and independence about yourself, because sometimes, even in the world of advertising and the products it sells, "following the crowd," can cause you to be dissatisfied and lacking of money.