Virtually no one who watches TV is immune to being carpet bombed by ad campaigns that unleash a numbing repetition of messages day and night. It’s a take-no-prisoners strategy employed by advertisers like law firms, tax consultants, politicians, and many others intended to drive their target audiences into submission by forging an indelible brand image in their minds. Some commercials even resort to the garish, the juvenile and the utterly outrageous to command attention.
But does it work?
A recent survey we conducted in Las Vegas endeavored to find out. Using the city as our laboratory, the research team focused on the TV ad campaigns of five local law firms, who typically flood the airwaves with commercials of varying degrees of polish and outlandishness to tout their personal injury and other legal services. For this study the intercept method was used, with questioners spreading out over four areas of the city covering a wide demographic swath, stopping people in public places to ask them about the law firms they might have seen advertised on television.
As expected, many participants remembered the names of the legal practices with the heaviest ad schedules or greatest decibel levels, or both. But interestingly, those firms with the highest recall weren’t always the ones people said they would contact in the event of a legal need.
While sheer money and a constant presence will certainly get you recognition, it doesn’t always translate into positive recognition. Our findings described that many people were turned off by some of the tactics in their ads and the amateurish way in which they were produced. Sure they are getting some business or else they wouldn’t be running the ads every single second! The truth is they are losing important segments of their market that could be won over with a more professional, yet very effective marketing strategy. This is the difference between good advertising and bad.
As an example, note the national insurance company sporting a gecko. This animated character is highly memorable and likeable, and he is always convincingly portrayed and delivers a credible message. His believability is key to the strategy’s success. As a result, this campaign not only scores high in recall, it also achieves brand change, builds brand loyalty and boosted sales dramatically.
What Your Marketing Goal?
It is always important to keep in mind that the goal of any advertising is increasing sales, and not for the amusement of the audience. Amusing and sometimes stunning can get you the initial attention, but to close sales and increase the bottom line takes more then fancy graphics or a funny little animation. And this is clearly shown by the results of this research study.