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Advertising Works

Updated on May 21, 2012
Gold Blend. Possibly the adverts that started the mini soap in advertising...
Gold Blend. Possibly the adverts that started the mini soap in advertising...


It's the way people market stuff nowadays and there's little we can do about it on our screens or on our radios.

Lately, it's become more prevalent on the internet too and whilst the majority of it is dross, there are those few that seem to capture the imagination and become almost as popular as full-blown TV programmes.

In short, the days of discrete little ads in the back of newspapers and magazines are long gone, replaced by ads that are mainly annoying, but every once in a while... 

Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet
Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet


Advertisers use various different ploys to get us to believe in their products. One is scientific with companies like L'Oreal who seem to find new and entertaining names for the various concoctions that go into their products as have other cosmetics companies.

I even tried looking up some of the chemicals they profess to use and surprise surprise, the only references I could find were in the order of "what the hell's that?"

However, it works. There's nothing to stop them taking a chemical compound and giving it a name and if it helps to sell their product, then so much the better. I would hazard a guess and say that most of us are wise to that--aren't we?

Another is comedy, making someone laugh, whether it has anything to do with the product itself.

Pathos is a third as depicted in the pictures (right).

Annoyance is another, which in my opinion is the way that most of them work. I mean, how annoying is it seeing Jason Donovan in stockings and suspenders while a really dreadful rendition of the Can-Can song rewritten for Iceland is played?

I suspect that the majority of readers will be too young to remember this one with a character known as 'the baldy man' played by Gregor Fisher who went on to become Rab C Nesbitt. Here they used pathos as part of the hook. The poor man who couldn't seem to get anything right, feeling better thanks to something that made him happy - his cigar.

There were a whole series of them that were even taken off by the likes of Spike Milligan and others in various comedy sketches as they became so recognisable and well-known.

Tobacco advertising has been banned now, so we won't get to see the likes of this ever again.

Nescafe Gold Blend

Back in the late eighties, Anthony Stewart Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Uther Pendragon) turned up in an advert for coffee along with Sharon Maughan from Holby City.

It's the age old story where the beautiful neighbour wants to borrow some coffee and knocks on his door.

The advert spurned a whole series of ads with people doing their best to catch the new episodes as they came out thanks to the will they, won't they storyline.

Nowadays, you'd have to say that the ads were on the cheesy side, but they got the point across.

The flashmob

I suppose BT have done the same thing with their imaginary family as Nescafe did, but I don't think it's had quite the same impact, despite the situations being much more up-to-date.

No, the latest craze to hit the ads has got to be the viral video.

Two such videos have been made (well three if you count that awful one with the damned singing).

The first one in the Liverpool Street station in 2009 won ad of the year and was the first in this country to use the flashmob. Hundreds of people who appeared to be simply travellers on the concourse suddenly began dancing to music that was being pumped through the PA system.

Nothing of its kind had ever been seen before this - certainly not in this country.

Then, earlier this year, they did it again.

Terminal five at Heathrow airport suddenly got an attack of flashmob singers, but not like the ones at 6am in Trafalgar Square, these could really sing!

Just as with the flashmob dance routine, this went down a storm and is probably heading for the same as the dance version. It seems that catching the public unawares with something like this makes for real entertainment.

I was even lucky enough to catch the first, full-length televising of this ad and I have to say, we were completely captivated.

So advertising works?

I believe so, but are we really stupid enough to believe everything they tell us?

Not hardly and if you are, then you only have yourselves to blame.

I do have to ask though, is it just the ads that are good, or are we really taking any notice of the products they're selling?


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    • Nick B profile imageAUTHOR

      Nick B 

      8 years ago from Normandy, France

      Thanks to all for your comment, although I feel that I may have to take it down, or provide different ads as my next hub will show...

    • Teresa Schultz profile image

      Teresa Schultz 

      8 years ago from East London, in South Africa

      I think I remember ads more than what the actual product or service is, but if there's a good connection, at least somehow, (between ad and product or service) then it's a truly great ad, even if I only place it 4th or 5th in a list of favorite ads. I would have to have two lists - one just lists my favorites even if I can't remember the product or service being promoted, and the other would be of perhaps slightly less interesting ads, that don't stand out as much as my favorites, but are perhaps stronger in that I remember the product or service too.

    • sligobay profile image


      8 years ago from east of the equator

      This was an enjoyable article with fine examples of advertising at the cutting edge done with good humour. I am now following you.

    • EdAnderson profile image


      8 years ago

      Great hub!!!


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