Thursday, January 14, 2010

Attention Is Easy. Awareness Is Hard.

It's easy to get attention, as is proved by this billboard from an outdoor advertising company in the U.K., just be loud, offensive and stupid. I promise people will notice. But don't expect them to like you.

This billboard is one execution in a campaign designed to "prove" to advertisers that outdoor is an effective medium. On the surface, it appears to have worked. Hundreds of women were offended and registered their outrage on a popular website for working women. So clearly they noticed. The problem is, it's a false test. It doesn't create awareness for anything but the poster. There's no brand to connect to here. No product to sell. It's just "made you look!"

Great advertising, like this board for Mini, grabs you by the collar and then tells you something about the product. Why are so many ads are either invisible or irrelevant? It's hard to find the balance between getting noticed and selling your product. Focus too much on selling and you're a shill. Focus too much on getting noticed and you're Paris Hilton. And nobody wants to be that.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Harvey and an excellent illustration of the questions I used to ask of advertising presented to me when i was a creative director.
    1. Is it surprising?
    2. Is it relevant?
    The first illustration meets test #1 but fails #2. The second passes on both counts. Not everything out there clears the bar. But when it does things happen.