‘Does our advertising need to be always credible?’By Ardy Roberto, Dr. Ned Roberto
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Q: We’re a medium-sized company marketing two brands of a consumer household care product. Last week, our newly appointed boutique ad agency presented the storyboard of their proposed ad campaign for our major brand. Including our CEO, we raised a whole lot of questions. Most of them centered around the way the storyboard presented our brand and its positioning. There was a narrator in all the storyboard frames talking in an obviously funny way and trying to be humorous throughout.
So we asked why the agency creative group chose this approach to the ad presentation. The agency creative director said: “’Yan ang uso ngayon. (That’s the ad trend today.) Just look at the most remembered TV ads. They’re all funny and full of humor.”
Our CEO interrupted and said: “The funny way that the narrator is talking makes what he’s saying about our brand hardly credible.” To which the creative director retorted: “A good ad doesn’t need to be always credible.”
Our CEO is a dedicated reader of your column. He instructed us to ask for your opinion: “Is it true that our ad does not need to be always credible?”
A: You should have proved and asked your ad agency creative director: “So when can an ad need not be credible?”
Consider the TV commercials on any brand of detergents like Surf’s “wa-ish” blurb or Tide’s “dirt magnets” commercial featuring Vic Sotto. Most TV viewers refer to them as “corny,” “creepy” and “weird.” They’re totally lacking in credibility and yet they are claimed to have worked. Or try remembering the TV ads for soy sauce. There’s the supposedly Kikkoman’s “hilarious Japanese soy sauce advertisement” and the equally funny or funnier Datu Puti soy sauce and vinegar TV commercial featuring Manny and Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao. These TV ads were adjudged as “successful and effective” even though they ignored the criterion of credibility.
So how do we explain their “success and effectiveness” when there was no credibility in them? One explanation is found in the concept of consumer involvement.
The Senior MRx-er’s User-Friendly Marketing Research book provides you a set of metrics by which to test if consumers have high or low involvement for your advertised brand. For example, if consumers will immediately substitute any available brand when your own brand happens to be out of stock, then your advertised brand is a low-involvement brand. Also, if consumers feel that they will lose a lot or feel embarrassed with others should something turn wrong with your brand, then there’s high involvement in that case. Finally, if in buying your advertised brand calls for little or practically no amount of evaluating, then that’s a low-involvement brand.
So our first Marketing Rx to you is right there. Why don’t you test with the target consumers for your major brand and use the preceding three test questions so you can find out if your advertised brand is a high- or low-involvement brand. If high, then insist on credibility with your ad agency. If low, then your ad does not need credibility. In fact, what will make it work is the opposite: non-belief or even disbelief. In either case, show your test results so that your ad agency will learn to be research-based in its recommendations.
We said “one explanation.” That’s because there’s another consideration to take. That’s the element of timing in your ad copy and its “call to action.”
A few months ago, we had a balikbayan guest from the US east coast who wanted to retire here in the next two years after having become a successful entrepreneur and a US dollar millionaire. We were with her on the day when she was looking over two or three newly constructed Makati residential condo buildings. In one building in Legaspi Village, as we were about to enter, she stopped and said she doesn’t want to see the condo units there anymore. To explain, she pointed us to a sign painted on the side doors of the building. It’s important to note that this is a permanently painted sign and not a hanging sign.
The painted white large-font sign in ocean-blue background said: “Few Units Left. Inquire Inside.” As she pointed, our lady guest commented: “Who’s going to believe that? That’s a permanent and fixed sign. It definitely tells me something about how the owner of this building respects ‘truth in advertising.’ Let’s just go somewhere else.”
Please remember that signage is an ad media. It’s a kind of mini- or micro-billboard. We wrote a column before where we presented a research that found out that a billboard is effective if it has a “call to action.” In this signage that turned off our lady guest, the call to action was: “Inquire Inside.” So that makes it a good signage insofar as this criterion is concerned.
What about the ad copy saying: “Few Units Left?” Apparently for this particular sign, alert condo customers will test its ad copy credibility by “the element of timing.” If the “Few Units Left” is clearly permanently painted and is not in a temporary hanging sign, then that ad copy immediately or eventually loses its credibility and turns off its reading audience. So if you plan to use a signage for your advertised brand of household care, in or outside the retail stores where it will be made available, and its “call to action” has a timing element, here’s a critical consideration to keep in mind.
Keep your questions coming. Send them to us at MarketingRx@pldtDSL.net or firstname.lastname@example.org. God bless!
Short URL: http://business.inquirer.net/?p=80700