Report: Research Blows Holes in Conventional Advertising Methods

by Jerry Vigil

In a recent article in U.S. News & World Report (Science 1, Advertisers 0 - May 1, 1989), it was reported that new research is "changing the traditional way advertisers present products to the public." The article goes on to say, "...scientists are revealing that even in purchases of the most functional products, consumers are swayed more by how a product appeals to their emotions and cultural values than by its 'rational' virtues such as durability or ease of use."

This new outlook on advertising wasn't developed yesterday. Consider commercials for Molsen beer and DeBeers, Hallmark Cards and AT&T. What is new is that "many researchers are becoming convinced that nearly every product is better sold that way." Further quoting the article, "Making consumers feel something is much more important than convincing them that a product is better."

Translating all this to your next piece of copy to write, research tells us that we should focus more on the listeners emotions. That's not an easy job for a copywriter. It's easy to write down what a particular business is offering this week, the name of their sale, and the big savings the listener will receive; but it will take a good copywriter to turn that copy into a message that will strike the emotions of the listener. This same way of thinking can be applied to promos as well, but it may mean backing off on all the fancy production and focusing more on tugging at the emotional strings of the listener. In this respect, it may be better to have a promo consist of mostly the winner screaming with joy as opposed to bits and pieces of the winner scattered throughout an announcer's message. Maybe the winner promo is 30 seconds of the winner talking about how he or she has 10 kids to feed and the $1,000 is going to save their lives. Good luck getting that one.

At any rate, what was thought to be true about new advertising methods is now being proven by scientific research, and the station looking for better results from their promos and commercials may do well to consider putting even more emphasis on their creative departments. The audience is getting smarter every day. Ordinary hype is no longer working as well as it used to. People are hearing it as just another commercial. Today, we need to dig a little deeper and touch the emotions of the listener if the ad is going to be effective. What emotions do you want to touch? Joy, sadness, love, desire and any other emotion that lies beneath the surface.

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