Are absolutely everywhere. Literally so according to research, the average person is subjected to 5000 advertising messages per day. It is no longer just the traditional form of advertising either, such as during the breaks of your favorite TV show. Now you will see advertising appear on billboards, radio, press and magazines, direct mail, social media, emails and even through sporting outlets, such as sponsors for sporting teams and clubs.
Not only is advertising an effective means of swaying customer buying decisions, but it is also a faithful insight into the minds of society as a whole.
What is advertising?
Advertising is a form of marketing used most frequently commercial companies. It is also used by media conglomerates to attract attention and even governments during political campaigns.
It is a huge business, with over an estimated $20bn spent in the UK during 2015 alone. Generally advertising seeks to raise awareness and knowledge of a product or service, but also to sway opinions, purchasing decisions and to create a brand image.
Advertising and brand image
Advertising campaigns are a powerful tool in creating and enforcing brand images. For example, the Apple “I’m a Mac” advertising campaign that used comical and widely held beliefs (or misbeliefs depending on your allegiance).
Its aim was to contrast its usage with Windows PCs, and involved a casually dressed young man and a ‘nerd’ to give an image of fashion to the Apple product. It was of course hugely successful and began the meteoric rise of Apple based around a brand image of cool, different and easy to use.
Then there’s the Red Bull ‘Stratos’ experiment. Whilst Red Bull claimed that it was not an advertising event, it certainly served not to create an image, but to enforce the company as exhilarating, daring and different. Just how as it’s links to Formula 1 and BMX also do so.
Successful advertising campaigns can take different forms. The Budweiser ‘Whassup’ adverts that aired on TV in the early 2000’s and became viral on the Internet (before becoming ‘viral’ was a thing).
This ad didn’t necessarily create or enforce a brand image, it was simply unforgettable and attention grabbing to the company’s target market. They won awards and inspired spoofs; in short they grabbed attention by creating something memorable… as have John Lewis in recent years with their Christmas adverts.
They have made not just a series of adverts but a set of short stories, which are touching and inspiring and have left viewers emotional and talking about them for a long time. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so the saying goes and in the case of Aldi, it seems during the run up to Christmas 2015, they all but copied the John Lewis advert.
Even though their ads didn’t have the same level of emotion or in depth story telling, Aldi did take the long-standing idea, and made a spoof of it. The old man in Aldis ad has a striking resemblance to John Lewis’ ‘The Man On The Moon’ advert. This was done excellently and had to effect, being reported on by major outlets such as The Huffington Post.
Advertising campaigns are used not only to sell products and foster consumer-company relationships, they are used by political organisations around the world. In some countries, such as in the EU, there are strict regulations. Paid for advertising is prohibited in the UK for example and only allowed during a short period of time, such as on the run up to elections.
In the USA the approach is much more open and campaigns can be shown throughout the year. Essentially the aims are similar when it comes to political advertising and commercial – to outline party goals and ultimately sway voting opinion.
Times are changing as many people turn to alternative broadcasting outlets like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Spotify and as a result advertisers have had to diversify and become more effective, entertaining and simply unforgettable to grab the attention of the masses.
TV advertising still plays a huge part today. However different means, such as product placement during television shows and even advertisements delivered to your mobile phone based on your geographic location, are becoming more prevalent.
As can be seen, advertising campaigns are an important tool for increasing brand image and product awareness. Not only that, political organisations use advertising to outline policies with the hope of gaining support.