Robin Landa is a distinguished professor in the Michael Graves College at Kean University. An award-winning author, teacher, designer, and branding expert, she has written more than twenty books on advertising, design, and creativity, including such bestsellers as Graphic Design Solutions (now in its fifth edition), Build Your Own Brand, and Nimble: Thinking Creatively in the Digital Age.
Advertising doesn't only compete with other advertising for people's attention. It also competes with everything online, in print, on television, and everywhere else, with the best entertainment and information available. To effectively reach the right audience, to reach people where they spend the most time and where they value brand experiences, advertising has to be relevant, resonate, engaging, and worth their time. Advertising has to start meaningful conversations with people, fire connections, fuel communities, and be shareworthy.
Are you on two or more screens simultaneously? Do you watch TV with your mobile in hand or nearby? Only a few years ago, the heart of the advertising ecosystem was TV commercials-which is advertising that is pushed at people, marketing that disrupts programming. That ecosystem is shifting to a more interactive and mobile-ready model. The change in distribution of advertising messages from print and broadcast channels (TV and radio) to interactive media channels (mobile, social, and web) in turn has changed how advertising creative professionals conceive and execute ideas. It has also changed how we need to prepare, what we need to know, and the required thinking and design skills.
Advertising is .
- Starting stories people will coauthor and participate in across media channels
- Service and actions: advertising ideas that benefit people and that people can participate in
- Doing something to benefit society, not just selling more brand product; brands that behave like good world citizens
- Building brand communities and brand advocates and sirens
- Sourcing data to inform useful brand apps, experiences, and platforms
- Mobile first, mobile rich and ready
- Social campaigning that maps back to the brand proposition, how a brand defines itself, the benefit it commits to delivering to you, what it promises. A brand is a promise.
The three steps for any brand messaging have not changed:
- Get people's attention.
- Keep their attention.
- Call them to action.
Digital spaces, however, have changed how we get people's attention and engage them. Through offering entertainment, utilities, apps, games, or education, or leveraging YouTube stars, advertisers get people to notice, to pay attention, or to respond by making a purchase or taking an action.
THE PURPOSE OF ADVERTISING
Although advertising channels have multiplied, advertising still serves the same purpose. In a free-market system, advertising promotes one brand or entity over another; raises awareness about social issues and causes, individuals, and organizations; and calls people to action for charitable or nonprofit organizations.
Most competing brands are of equal quality and have equivalent defining features-that is, they are parity goods or services. For example, most toothpaste brands in the same price category (perhaps even across price categories) use similar ingredients and provide equivalent results. Among parity products and services, effective advertising could persuade you that one brand is better or more appealing than its competition. An ad campaign for a toothpaste brand might convince you that its use would leave your teeth cleaner, brighter, healthier, or your mouth more fragrant than any other. For any advertising to affect you, to call you to action, it has to be relevant to you, and it has to be presented on media channels that will reach you.
In industrialized countries (and, increasingly, globally) advertising is part of daily life and inseparable from popular culture. In many countries, advertising is the one common experience shared by a large, diverse populace. Advertising is a mass media leveler, the pop culture vehicle with which we all come into contact and know-from branded entertainment online to mobile ads to television commercials.
An advertisement (or "ad") is a specific message constructed to inform, persuade, promote, provoke, or motivate people on behalf of a brand, entity, or cause. (In this book, "entity" designates commercial companies, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.) An advertising campaign is a series of coordinated ads, based on an overarching strategy and an insight into the audience, connected by voice, design, style, imagery, and tagline (brand catchphrase), where each individual ad in the campaign can also stand on its own.
An integrated ad campaign has an overarching strategy and core concept and is conceived and created for audiences using specific media channels and then distributed on those channels. These might include broadcast, print, screen-based media, and out-of-home (OOH), and might include categories such as branded entertainment and content for web or social media, ambient advertising, TV commercials, or innovative media.
BROAD ADVERTISING CATEGORIES
Public service advertising seeks to advance the common good. According to the Advertising Council, an American public service advertising organization (www.adcouncil.org): "The objectives of [public service] ads are education and awareness of significant social issues, in an effort to change the public's attitudes and behaviors and stimulate positive social change."
Advertising agencies donate their expertise and time to create public service advertising, commonly called PSAs, in service of a great variety of social causes and nonprofit organizations. At times there is a facilitating organization, such as the Ad Council. According to its website, the Ad Council is "a private, non-profit organization that marshals volunteer talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to deliver critical messages to the American public." The Ad Council produces and distributes PSAs "in issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well being and strengthening families."
In most countries, media outlets consider PSAs a public service to the community, and therefore they do not charge to run the PSAs on television, radio, or in print. To have more control over PSA placement, however, some nonprofit organizations and government agencies have begun to pay for media time.
Cause advertising, though initiated by commercial concerns, seeks to raise funds for nonprofit organizations or raise awareness on social issues and runs in paid media channels. It is generally affiliated with a corporation and used in part to promote a corporation's public image or brand, unlike public service advertising, which has no commercial affiliation. Common examples of this are brands that support existing causes, such as cancer research, or organizations that partner with brands. For instance, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Coca-Cola Company joined forces to help protect the polar bear and its habitat. According to the WWF website (http://www.worldwildlife.org/partnership-categories/marketing-partnerships), "WWF engages in a variety of cause marketing partnerships that help drive awareness of, and revenue towards, our conservation work."
In another example of cause marketing, in the early 2000s Dove set out to widen the definition of beauty with a groundbreaking ad campaign. Out of that campaign came the Dove Self-Esteem Project, which was founded "to help the next generation of women grow up feeling happy and confident about the way they look" (www.dove.us/Our-Mission/Girls-Self-Esteem/Vision/). Dove has continued in that direction with campaigns such as the award-winning "Real Beauty Sketches."
Some brands go beyond cause marketing as an integral part of their business models. TOMS, a company that makes shoes and accessories, includes a "One for One" concept in its business model: "With every product you purchase, TOMS will help a person in need." Similarly, Patagonia's "Common Threads Partnership" aims to reduce its environmental impact.
Commercial advertising promotes brands, companies, individuals, and commodities. Aimed at mass audiences, commercial advertising takes many forms, from single print advertisements to campaigns across media to sponsorships to branded utilities and entertainment. Within the commercial category, there are several subcategories. Consumer advertising is directed toward targeted segments of the general public and includes most of the ads shown in this book. Other types of commercial advertising include business to business (B2B), which is one company advertising to others, and trade advertising, which is consumer-product advertising intended not for the average consumer but for the various entities and experts who influence consumers (for example, health care professionals) or advertising aimed at a specific trade or profession (for example, a publisher's ad aimed at potential authors).
ADVERTISING TAKES MANY FORMS
Branded entertainment was a mainstay during the earliest days of radio and television. Advertisers and agencies developed programs and brought them to the networks. These programs were often named for the sponsors. For example, the NBC network once offered programs such as The Colgate Comedy Hour, Kraft Television Theatre, and The Philco Television Playhouse. The Texaco Star...