you can still scramble an egg.

or hard boil it. or poach it. serve it benedict or sunny-side-up.
...you get the picture. all i mean to say is perhaps the "chicken-and-egg" theory isn't entirely irrelevant with regards to content vs. context, as a recent AgencySpy post discusses.

as for the preliminary topic of whether content or context is more important in advertising--that is, creating engaging stories versus knowing consumer values--i agree with Frank Scherma on that one. or at least, i think i do. a link was not provided to his actual opinion, but i'm told that it lands a mixture of the two. (test tube eggs?)

i think that, in order to be effective, you need to understand and know your audience first. really know them. don't "think" you know them--most likely, you don't. know them again. you need to care about what they care about. love what they love. be intrigued by the same facets and hold similar priorities. at least when considering strategies.

then, taking that understanding, you craft engaging stories to communicate how a good product can be great for them. because no one wants to hear those exact words: "our product is wicked awesome! for all your _____ needs!" yeah, sure. it could be the exact bloody perfect thing i need, but by then i'll have already tuned it out.

as for the argument that ads may become the overbearing father at a malt shop (to mix blog metaphors for a moment), i'm not sure that's entirely true. YES a lot of purchasing now relies on word of mouth and on credible consumer reviews. YES this shifts the way that some products communicate. key word being some.

"clever ad campaigns be damned" only works when i really give a shit about where my money is going. for example, i'm going to research my digital camera, or my wireless mouse, or what flight carrier i choose, or my cell phone, lap top, insert fancy toy of choice here. point being: fancy toy of choice. i will research when i have to. i will take consumers into account when i want the most value for my buck.

but if i'm buying a new food product i've not heard of before, or buy new music i hadn't heard before, i am not researching that. i am looking at packaging (especially for those impulse buys that get me going back for more). i am watching commercials (anyone notice how more and more, commercials will have little paragraphs at the bottom citing song & artist? no joke.). i am remembering that advertisement i had to sit and stare on for an hour on a bus ride. or a billboard in traffic.

because, dammit, i don't need your opinion on my pack of gum.

consumers are willing to be more risky (take less advice) with (relatively) less expensive items. because of this, we are never going to get rid of the context/content part of the advertising show. we just don't want to be bothered researching every little thing. so while an iPod adapter, of relatively significant cost and quality, will be researched, that song on the commercial i heard will not.

i think the propensity to believe that everything will move toward consumer reviews and recommendations is a symptom of the echo chamber of us tech geeks, who like to be in the know and research every bloody thing, right down to whether or not i should purchase a $34 dress from TrashyDiva (i did, by the way). but take a step back.

try asking people how they came to purchase their last new items (new, meaning have not purchased before). i think you'll find the trend. at least, that's how this observation came to me. i do believe alan's "prom king" theory is entirely correct because it relies on what brands we spend money to care about; brands who say something about us when we choose them. but for those products we can afford to care less about, clever commercials still suffice.

people ignore irrelevant advertising. make it relevant (know your audience and apply that knowledge) and people will start to care, too.

ceci n'est pas un oeuf.

No comments: