Why Advertising Ignores People

Strategy in 99 seconds or so. ✏️

Every now and again, and probably increasingly often – an industry norm becomes so standardised, that we sleepwalk into boring, predictable, and ineffective creative. This happens across tone of voice documents, ad casting and model choices in particular.

It’s worth remembering you don’t always have to hold a mirror up to your audience. In fact, the most effective creative usually doesn’t. Cadbury’s ‘Gorilla’ didn’t just resonate with gorillas, and meerkats haven’t suddenly started buying insurance.

The iconic film ‘The King’s Speech’ captured hearts and minds. Not because we’re all kings. Or have speech impediments. We all identify with the emotional theme of struggle, determination and the importance of friendship. It’s these emotions that are far more powerful that any portrayal of a character.

This is also relevant when we use personality descriptors in our brand definitions. We ignore the brand ‘flaws’ and vulnerabilities. ‘This Girl Can’ was phenomenally effective because the imperfections drew us in. Instantly Nike became more human, more authentic and a brand we could trust more because of it – and increased sales quickly followed.

Thinking about your audience in terms of emotions and feelings will bring far greater success than simply typecasting.

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