“Advertising Does Not Work”…Yes, It Does. If It Is Relevant.

Advertising is as old as human beings. In very simple terms, it is a form of communication to consume a product, that is available in abundance in possession by the selling party. When ads are done right, they do work and make a sale. However, the complexity of measuring advertising effectiveness brought this notion – “Ads do not work”. Perhaps, do not work for you (as an individual) or at this time (you are not considering this purchase). But, generally speaking when ads done right – they are still effective and they work – even in our noisy and information “overflown” world.

One of the key requirements for the ads to work is their relevance to the target audience. The potential buyer should be able to relate to the message and situation communicated by the ad. Just getting the attention by loud music, wild colors and odd situations or unrelated juxtaposition can help to break through the clutter. The question is – will it sell the product? Will it place the check mark into the consideration set of the consumer to take the next step? Most of the time, it will not. Relevance is important, as we need shortcuts to make decisions and being placed in the situation when the needs arise, works best to trigger our response.

My top favorites for the last two months are the following TV ads, that simply illustrate the ad relevance factor, in addition to the usage of humor and methaphor:
1) Ladders.com Campaign “When You Let Everyone Play…Nobody Wins.”
Every job seeker can relate to this experience of looking for jobs at major online sites. Tennis metaphor makes it even more vivid and helps to visualize the emotions and confusion every job seeker experienced in the process of online job search.

Axe Deodorant Campaign “Axe Dark Temptation: Chocolate Man”.
This ad mixes two perceptual worlds – male and female. Though, focused on men’s desire to be “desired”, this ad adds love for chocolate that all women can relate to! What an appetizing hybrid!

3) Campbell Soup Campaign “Dragging Yourself to Eat Low Sodium Soup”.
This ad mixes the contemporary lifestyle choice to eat less salt with the “not-so-psyched- attitude” we have when we think of any low sodium food choice. This emotional conflict and “that feeling” we oblige to follow the “healthy choice” very well depicted in the dragging motion. Funny too!

So, make your ads relevant. Referencing the meaning of the word “relevance” in Webster, can be a good start: “the ability (as of an information retrieval system) to retrieve material that satisfies the needs of the user’!