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The garbage that is “modern advertising theory”.

The reason most people say they don’t pay attention to advertising is simple. Advertising doesn’t give them anything to pay attention to.

I saw this ad yesterday.

Before I start kicking the idea to pieces, I’d like to apologise to the writer.

I’m assuming it’s not your fault.

Whoever is responsible for this, you need to know it’s bad. Not the kind of bad that further curses advertising with the stench of opportunistic, trite and shallow commercialism. It’s not that noticeable. It’s bad in an “I-don’t-believe-someone-actually-spent-money-on-that” kind of way. Whichever gang of monkeys decided to drag the original idea into a committee room and bludgeon it to death with marketing wisdom should hang their heads in shame.

I noticed it because I’m in the market for a new car.

So new cars are on my radar.

This seems, to this idiot anyway, the sort of poster which has been put through the mincer of “best practice” and has turned out another reason (if one were needed) why most marketers should probably have nothing to do with advertising.

The theory says, “show the car”.

The practice says, ‘This ain’t no super model”.

A possible solution, put your energy into making people remember the name.

The theory says, “front three quarter.”

The practice says, “Is that the best you’ve got?”

A possible solution, show only part of the car – the part most people will find most interesting – maybe even the view from inside.

The theory would say, “Nobody reads long headlines.”

The practice would prove people read what interests them.

A possible solution, write a headline which is the engaging part of an advertising idea.

A hard-earned thirst needs a big cold beer.

From where you’d rather be.

When it absolutely, positively needs to be there overnight.

Three highly memorable lines which engaged the reader and remain trapped in the brain. Three lines which modern advertising theory suggest would be better written as; “cold” “from here” and “overnight”.

It’s a trap formed by an evil coalition of unskilled art directors and focus groups.

And a trap most committees gleefully run into because it stops them having to really think about what the customer wants, and what the customer will truly engage with.

People read what interests them.

If young people don’t read long headlines, why do they spend so much time reading the 125 characters in most Instagram posts?

(A sentence which, by the way, contains 125 characters.)

By keeping the headline short, the clever committee have simply removed any capacity for the writer, and art director, to use their skills to create an ad people will remember.

Alliteration. Metaphor. Juxtaposition. Repetition. Rhymes. Spoofs. Parodies. Playing with reality. Over-promise. Under-promise. Reframing. Perspectives. Stories. Alternate uses. All proven effective time after time after time.

If you’re going to interrupt someone’s day, hoping to get them to buy what you’re selling, make it worth their while.

If you can’t make it worth their while, don’t run the ad.

Happily, later in the day I saw the latest Repco campaign. “It all starts with the parts”.

Memorable. Interesting. Engaging.

I don’t even know what a spare part is.

But I think I know where I’d start looking for them if I did.

 

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