Sunday, October 5, 2008

Why portray customers as clueless?

An objective of advertising is to endear a product to current and potential customers. Allowing them to "see" themselves in advertisements is a basic tenet of marketing. Such groups should be able to identify with the commercial... that the advertisement hits their situation so closely that it could be them in the ad.

A good classic example of this was the long running advertising campaign by Michelin Tire that ended several years ago. Perhaps you recall the advertisements (above right) where babies and tires were featured with the slogan "Because so much is riding on your tires." People "saw" their babies -- no matter how old -- in the advertisement . The message and images related to their lives. A part of them was identified in the ad.

Portraying customers as foolish to attract new customers... it does not make sense.
While humor is a powerful tool in advertising and promotion, care must be taken not to cross the line where humor goes from attracting to repulsing. For example, in television advertisements over the last two years (below), Holiday Inn uses their own customers as the butt of the joke... making them look silly. So the message is: see our customers... don't you want to be just like them?

What do customers see in your ads?

  • Does it relate to them?
  • Is it attractive to them?
  • Do they want to be a part of it?

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