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Advertising Course

Introduction

If you watched television last night, try to recall a commercial that you remember and describe what made it memorable.  Consider how advertising affects your life.  Would you be better off with or without it?  What are the differences between offensive vs. acceptable advertising?

Like it or not, you live in a world filled with advertising.  In this course you will explore the hows, the wheres and the whys of good advertising.  You will learn how to create a good advertising campaign and make sure it carries your message to your target audience. 

The Concept of Advertising

Click here to watch a 1980’s “Krazy Glue” commercial.  Do you remember this commercial?

From an advertising perspective, the “Krazy Glue” commercial is very effective.  It is a persuasive advertisement describing the strength of the product.  The message tells the viewer what the product is and what it does with total clarity.  The name, “Krazy Glue” is also catchy.  The commercial speaks to everyone, in the sense that anyone (except children) can use “Krazy Glue”. 

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), the body which represents advertising agencies, defines advertising as:  “The means of providing the most persuasive possible selling message to the right prospects at the lowest possible cost” (tutor2u, n. d., para. 1).

An important question that a business needs to ask is, “Why advertise?”  Businesses advertise for many reasons,  including to create awareness, to boost sales, to launch a new product, or to remind customers of an existing product. 

The Five-Stage Process of Advertising Campaigns

In the business world, you will find advertising campaigns for a wide variety of products.  All campaigns are created by using the five-stage process.

Examine each of these stages to see how they work together to form an advertising campaign.

Stage 1: Set the Advertising Objective.

An advertising objective is a message that needs to be communicated to a target audience.  An advertising objective does three things:

  • It informs a customer about a new product
  • It persuades the customer to try a new product,
  • It reminds customers where to find a product. 

In the “Krazy Glue” commercial that you just saw, the three advertising objectives were met. It informed consumers about “Krazy Glue” and how strong a product it is. It persuaded customers to believe that “Krazy Glue” is an effective product.  This was reinforced by the man suspended in mid-air. It reminded customers where they can find the product and to ask for “Krazy Glue” when they are in need of an adhesive.

Stage 2: Set the Advertising Budget

Setting an advertising budget can be the most difficult of all the five stages.  The advertising budget needs to take into account the potential sales of the product and budget accordingly.  In other words, the monies spent should be relevant to what the potential sales will be.  This is essential when setting a budget.  It would be a disaster if the monies spent on an advertising program were twice the amount of the sales produced for the product. 

Having said that, if the product is new, then it can be difficult to estimate what the potential sales might be.  One rule of thumb is to look at historical sales data within similar product lines to see what type of sales were generated.  Based on that information, one can estimate potential sales of the new product. The advertising budget needs to be set at a level where it can help build as much awareness as possible and encourage trial of the product.

Stage 3: Determine the Advertising Message and Its Effectiveness

  • The first step in determining the     message is to decide what you want to say to the consumer about the     product.  Also included in the     message are the benefits the product will offer to the consumer, as well     as what the product promises to do.

In the “Krazy Glue” commercial, the communicated benefit & promise is that “Krazy Glue” is the strongest glue in the market.  This is reinforced by the man suspended in mid-air.

  • The second step is to make sure the message reaches the right people (the intended audience).  This refers to the Target Market

With respect to “Krazy Glue,” the target market may be adult men and women who need glue, ages 24-54.

  • Clarity in the message is also important.  The message must gain the attention of the viewer; it must be understood and must stimulate a need to purchase the product. 

The “Krazy Glue” commercial does an excellent job of communicating the message with clarity.  There is no confusion regarding what “Krazy Glue” is capable of doing.  (It’s all depicted in the commercial)

Stage 4: Decide Which Media to Use

Where and how many times will the customer see the message?  Which media is more appropriate to use and which will have the most impact; television, newspaper or radio?

Typically,  the media department in an advertising agency can be very helpful with this stage.  A company may decide that using television would be the best medium to communicate its product.  They may even narrow it down to the time of day and specific channels. 

It is very common for cereal companies to advertise on morning television, on major network and cartoon stations.  They do this because they believe that this is the best way to reach their target audience.

Stage 5: Evaluate the Advertising Campaign

There are two ways to evaluate an advertising campaign:

The first way a business can determine if an advertising campaign was successful is to assess whether the intended message was communicated effectively.  Did the message inform the customer of the product, did the message remind the customer about the product and lastly, did the product persuade the customer to try the product?

In the “Krazy Glue” commercial the message was effective because not only is the commercial still memorable, but it also did a great job informing and reminding consumers about the product.  There is no way of knowing whether or not it persuaded consumers because access to the company’s financial records is prohibited.  However, based on the effectiveness of the commercial, it is safe to say that it persuaded the consumers to try the product. 

The second way to evaluate an advertising campaign is to determine whether the message increased sales, store traffic, or phone inquiries.  This type of evaluation requires sales data from the client to know if the campaign generated the intended results.

In 1962, Hertz was the leader in the car rental business, while Avis was an unprofitable company with only 11% of the car rental business in the USA. Avis introduced the “we try harder” campaign and within a year Avis was making a profit. By 1966 Avis had increased its market share to 35%. How would you evaluate the Avis campaign?

 

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