Children Adolescents and Advertising

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December 2006, VOLUME 118 / ISSUE 6

From the American Academy of Pediatrics

FROM THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS

Children, Adolescents, and Advertising

This article has corrections. Please see:

Advertising is a pervasive influence on children and adolescents. Young people view more than 40 000 ads per year on television alone and increasingly are being exposed to advertising on the Internet, in magazines, and in schools. This exposure may contribute significantly to childhood and adolescent obesity, poor nutrition, and cigarette and alcohol use. Media education has been shown to be effective in mitigating some of the negative effects of advertising on children and adolescents.

Several European countries forbid or severely curtail advertising to children; in the United States, on the other hand, selling to children is simply business as usual.1The average young person views more than 3000 ads per day on television (TV), on the Internet, on billboards, and in magazines.2Increasingly, advertisers are targeting younger and younger children in an effort to establish brand-name preference at as early an age as possible.3This targeting occurs because advertising is a $250 billion/year industry with 900 000 brands to sell,2and children and adolescents are attractive consumers: teenagers spend $155 billion/year, children younger than 12 years spend another $25 billion, and both groups influence perhaps another $200 billion of their parents spending per year.45Increasingly, advertisers are seeking to find new and creative ways of targeting young consumers via the Internet, in schools, and even in bathroom stalls.1

Research has shown that young childrenyounger than 8 yearsare cognitively and psychologically defenseless against advertising.69They do not understand the notion of intent to sell and frequently accept advertising claims at face value.10In fact, in the late 1970s, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held hearings, reviewed the existing research, and came to the conclusion that it was unfair and deceptive to advertise to children younger than 6 years.11What kept the FTC from banning such ads was that it was thought to be impractical to implement such a ban.11However, some Western countries have done exactly that: Sweden and Norway forbid all advertising directed at children younger than 12 years, Greece bans toy advertising until after 10pm, and Denmark and Belgium severely restrict advertising aimed at children.12

Children and adolescents view 400 00 ads per year on TV alone.13This occurs despite the fact that the Childrens Television Act of 1990 (Pub L No. 101437) limits advertising on childrens programming to 10.5 minutes/hour on weekends and 12 minutes/hour on weekdays. However, much of childrens viewing occurs during prime time, which features nearly 16 minutes/hour of advertising.14A 30-second ad during the Super Bowl now costs $2.3 million but reaches 80 million people.15

A 2000 FTC investigation found that violent movies, music, and video games have been intentionally marketed to children and adolescents.16Although movie theaters have agreed not to show trailers for R-rated movies before G-rated movies in response to the release of the FTC report, children continue to see advertising for violent media in other venues. For instance, M-rated video games, which according to the gaming industrys own rating system are not recommended for children younger than 17 years, are frequently advertised in movie theaters, video game magazines, and publications with high youth readership.17Also, movies targeted at children often prominently feature brand-name products and fast food restaurants.18In 19971998, 8 alcohol companies placed products in 233 motion pictures and in 1 episode or more of 181 TV series.18

According to the Consumers Union,19more than 160 magazines are now targeted at children. Young people see 45% more beer ads and 27% more ads for hard liquor in teen magazines than adults do in their magazines.20Despite the Master Settlement Agreement with the tobacco industry in 1998, tobacco advertising expenditures in 38 youth-oriented magazines amounted to $217 million in 2000.21

An increasing number of Web sites try to entice children and teenagers to make direct sales. Teenagers account for more than $1 billion in e-commerce dollars,22and the industry spent $21.6 million on Internet banner ads alone in 2002.23More than 100 commercial Web sites promote alcohol products.23The content of these sites varies widely, from little more than basic brand information to chat rooms, virtual bars, drink recipes, games, contests, and merchandise catalogues. Many of these sites use slick promotional techniques to target young people.2324In 1998, the Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act (Pub L No. 105277) was passed, which mandates that commercial Web sites cannot knowingly collect information from children younger than 13 years. These sites are required to provide notice on the site to parents about their collection, use, and disclosure of childrens personal information and must obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting, using, or disclosing this information.25

Advertisers have traditionally used techniques to which children and adolescents are more susceptible, such as product placements in movies and TV shows,26tie-ins between movies and fast food restaurants,18tie-ins between TV shows and toy action figures or other products,7kids clubs that are linked to popular shows, and celebrity endorsements.27Cellular phones are currently being marketed to 6- to 12-year-olds, with the potential for directing specific advertisers to children and preteens. Coca-Cola reportedly paid Warner Bros. Studios $150 million for the global marketing rights to the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone,28and nearly 20% of fast food restaurant ads now mention a toy premium in their ads.29Certain tie-in products may be inappropriate for children (eg, action figures from the World Wrestling Federation or an action doll that mutters profanities from an R-ratedAustin Powersmovie).

Childrens advertising protections will need to be updated for digital TV, which will be in place before 2010. In the near future, children watching a TV program will be able to click an on-screen link and go to a Web site during the program.30Interactive games and promotions on digital TV will have the ability to lure children away from regular programming, encouraging them to spend a long time in an environment that lacks clear separation between content and advertising. Interactive technology may also allow advertisers to collect vast amounts of information about childrens viewing habits and preferences and target them on the basis of that information.31

Tobacco manufacturers spend $30 million/day ($11.2 billion/year) on advertising and promotion.32Exposure to tobacco advertising may be a bigger risk factor than having family members and peers who smoke33and can even undermine the effect of strong parenting practices.34Two unique and large longitudinal studies have found that approximately one third of all adolescent smoking can be attributed to tobacco advertising and promotions.3536In addition, more than 20 studies have found that children exposed to cigarette ads or promotions are more likely to become smokers themselves.3738Recent evidence has emerged that tobacco companies have specifically targeted teenagers as young as 13 years of age.39

Alcohol manufacturers spend $5.7 billion/year on advertising and promotion.40Young people typically view 2000 beer and wine commercials annually,41with most of the ads concentrated in sports programming. During prime time, only 1 alcohol ad appears every 4 hours; yet, in sports programming, the frequency increases to 2.4 ads per hour.4243Research has found that adolescent drinkers are more likely to have been exposed to alcohol advertising.4450Given that children begin making decisions about alcohol at an early ageprobably during grade school50exposure to beer commercials represents a significant risk factor.4650Minority children may be at particular risk.51

Just Say No as a message to teenagers about drugs seems doomed to failure given that $11 billion/year is spent on cigarette advertising, $5.7 billion/year is spent on alcohol advertising, and nearly $4 billion/year is spent on prescription drug advertising.52Drug companies now spend more than twice as much on marketing as they do on research and development. The top 10 drug companies made a total profit of $35.9 billion in 2002more than the other 490 companies in the Fortune 500 combined.53Is such advertising effective? A recent survey of physicians found that 92% of patients had requested an advertised drug.5455In addition, children and teenagers may get the message that there is a drug available to cure all ills and heal all pain, a drug for every occasion (including sexual intercourse).41

Advertisers spend more than $2.5 billion/year to promote restaurants and another $2 billion to promote food products.56On TV, of the estimated 40 000 ads per year that young people see, half are for food, especially sugared cereals and high-calorie snacks.2957Healthy foods are advertised less than 3% of the time; children rarely see a food advertisement for broccoli.58Increasingly, fast food conglomerates are using toy tie-ins with major childrens motion pictures to try to attract young people.59Nearly 20% of fast food ads now mention a toy premium in their commercials.29Several studies document that young children request more junk food (defined as foods with high-caloric density but very low nutrient density) after viewing commercials.6063In 1 study, the amount of TV viewed per week correlated with requests for specific foods and with caloric intake.61At the same time, advertising healthy foods has been shown to increase wholesome eating in children as young as 3 to 6 years of age.64

Sex is used in commercials to sell everything from beer to shampoo to cars.65New research is showing that teenagers exposure to sexual content in the media may be responsible for earlier onset of sexual intercourse or other sexual activities.6667What is increasingly apparent is the discrepancy between the abundance of advertising of products for erectile dysfunction (ED) (between January and October, 2004, drug companies spent $343 million advertising Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis)68and the lack of advertising for birth control products or emergency contraceptives on the major TV networks. This is despite the fact that 2 national polls have found that a majority of Americans favor the advertising of birth control on TV.6970Ads for ED drugs give children and teens inappropriate messages about sex and sexuality at a time when they are not being taught well in school sex education programs.7172Research has definitively found that giving teenagers increased access to birth control through advertising does not make them sexually active at a younger age.7380

American advertising also frequently uses female models who are anorectic in appearance and, thus, may contribute to the development of a distorted body self-image and abnormal eating behaviors in young girls.798182

Advertisers have slowly but steadily infiltrated school systems around the country. The 3 Rs have now become the 4 Rs, with the fourth R being retail.8384Ads are now appearing on school buses, in gymnasiums, on book covers, and even in bathroom stalls.85More than 200 school districts nationwide have signed exclusive contracts with soft drink companies.86These agreements specify the number and placement of soda-vending machines, which is ironic given that schools risk losing federal subsidies for their free breakfast and lunch programs if they serve soda in their cafeterias. In addition, there are more than 4500 Pizza Hut chains and 3000 Taco Bell chains in school cafeterias around the country.87

There is some good news, however. In May, 2006, the nations largest beverage distributors agreed to halt nearly all sales of sodas to public schools and sell only water, unsweetened juice, and low-fat milk in elementary and middle schools. Diet sodas would be sold only in high schools.88

School advertising also appears under the guise of educational TV: Channel One. Currently available in 12 000 schools, Channel One consists of 10 minutes of current-events programming and 2 minutes of commercials. Advertisers pay $200 000 for advertising time and the opportunity to target 40% of the nations teenagers for 30 seconds.89According to a recent government report, Channel One now plays in 25% of the nations middle and high schools81and generates profits estimated at $100 million annually.89

Clearly, advertising represents big business in the United States and can have a significant effect on young people. Unlike free speech, commercial speech does not enjoy the same protections under the First Amendment of the Constitution.90Advertisements can be restricted or even banned if there is a significant public health risk. Cigarette advertising and alcohol advertising would seem to fall squarely into this category, and ads for junk food could easily be restricted.91

One solution that is noncontroversial and would be easy to implement is to educate children and teenagers about the effects of advertisingmedia literacy. Curricula have been developed that teach young people to become critical viewers of media in all of its forms, including advertising.9294Media education seems to be protective in mitigating harmful effects of media, including the effects of cigarette, alcohol, and food advertising.9396

Pediatricians should become familiar with the methods that advertisers use to target children and adolescents.

Pediatricians should only subscribe to magazines that are free of tobacco and alcohol advertisements for their waiting rooms (eg,Good Housekeepinghas refused to carry tobacco ads since 1952).

Pediatricians should counsel their patients to limit total noneducational screen time to no more than 2 hours/day,97which will limit exposure to advertising of all kinds.

Pediatricians should write letters to advertisers if they see inappropriate ads and should encourage parents to do the same (letters can be addressed to the Childrens Advertising Review Unit, Council of Better Business Bureaus, 845 Third Ave, New York, NY 10022).

Pediatricians should work with community groups and local school boards to implement media education programs that teach about the effects of advertising on children and adolescents. The federal government should help underwrite the cost of establishing and disseminating such programs.

Pediatricians should work with parents, schools, community groups, and others to ban or severely curtail school-based advertising in all forms.

Pediatricians should work with parent and public health groups to:

ask Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to limit commercial advertising on childrens programming to no more than 5 to 6 minutes/hour, which would decrease the current amount by 50%;

ask Congress to implement a ban on cigarette and tobacco advertising in all media, including banners and logos in sports arenas;

ask Congress to restrict alcohol advertising to what is known as tombstone advertising, in which only the product is shown, not cartoon characters or attractive women;

ask Congress to implement a ban on junk-food advertising during programming that is viewed predominantly by young children;

ask Congress to increase funding for public TVthe sole source of high-quality, educational, noncommercial programming for children;

advocate for confining ads for ED drugs to after 10pm. The American Academy of Pediatrics has always strongly endorsed the advertising of birth control on TV. There is now considerable evidence that birth control advertising could lower teen pregnancy rates even further while having no impact on rates of teen sexual activity.79However, when birth control advertising is so rare on prime time TV, it makes no sense to allow ED drug advertising that may confuse children and teens about human sexuality and make sexual activity seem like a recreational sport.

ask Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to prohibit interactive advertising to children in digital TV; and

ask Congress to convene a national task force on advertising under the auspices of the Institute of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, or the FTC. This task force would discuss the nature of the current problem and the current research and would propose solutions toward limiting childrens exposure to unhealthy advertising, including the funding of future research. The task force would include representatives from the toy industry, the fast food industry, and the advertising community, as well as pediatricians, child psychiatrists and psychologists, and public health advocates.

Pediatricians, together with the American Academy of Pediatrics Media Resource Team, should work with the entertainment industry to ensure that the advertising of violent media to children does not occur, that product placements in movies and TV do not occur, that the dissemination and enforcement of the individual industries own rating systems is facilitated, and that advertising for contraceptives is more widely disseminated on network TV.

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All policy statements from the American Academy of Pediatrics automatically expire 5 years after publication unless reaffirmed, revised, or retired at or before that time.

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Brand Advertising Techniques

The advertising techniques I discuss here are mentioned as advertisingin my article onadvertising strategy. Here, I want to discuss these in a bit more detail as well as provide sample creative ads from leading brands around the world. Some musicians say that all music has already been written and whatever music is composed nowadays is actually rearrangements of old compositions and melodies. It is similar in advertising as most advertising techniques are not new in themselves but are applied in new and creative ways with new

In looking at advertising, what it boils down to in the most simple of terms is conveying a centralideausingcreativityso as to generate anemotionalreaction and attract the widestattention. The idea is connected with your product or service and is usually a key selling point ordifferentiator. The purpose of your ad is to grab the attention of your audience and leave them with a distinct positiveimpressionabout your offering that they will retain. In looking at the following ad examples showcasing the various advertising techniques I discuss, you will notice thesimplicityandpowerof these ads in conveying a central key idea.

Askabout Advertising Techniques orcreateyour own page on this topic!

•What is Advertising?••A History of AdvertisingAdvertising StrategyAdvertising Marketing StrategyCreative Advertising IdeasAnatomy of an AdFamous Advertising SlogansAdvertising Marketing PlansOnline Advertising TrendsUsing Google AdWordsYou MessagingAdvertising Techniques Consultant

The most basic of advertising techniques is simply showcasing your product, service or brand name itself in an attractive light. Examples of this are glossy catalog pictures or this Adidas ad. Compared to the relatively drab ordinary world, seeing a bright and shiny product or service ad or logo makes it seem very appealing. With brand promotion, it goes without saying that you need to have a recognized brand name to begin with if that is all you are advertising (note that the Adidas ad contains all sorts of creative tie-ins to sports themes and is not just attractive to look at!).

Another set of standard advertising techniques is to provide your customers with an offer or incentive to buy from you (or toact). Unless you are providing your customers with a foolproofreasonto purchase your product or service, you are really wasting your time if you think about it. A powerful way to do this is to come up with acompellingoffer which makes it hard if not impossible! – for them to resist your sales and marketing message. Offers are often for a limited time in order to createurgencyand common examples are of the buy 1, get 1 free or order now and save 30% variety. Can you think of somethinguniquethat will really appeal to yourtarget customer? Think of what need of theirs you can solve at a low cost that will provide immensevalueand position you as an expert in your field.

The simple act of showing people using your product or service is one of the most common of advertising techniques and is effective in painting a picture for your audience of how they would / could / should use your product or service themselves. People by nature tend to mimic others and just seeing someone using your product is effective persuasion for the viewer to do the same (dont you feel like eating a cake when you see an ad where someone is enjoying one?).

It should go without saying that advertising involves acreative strategyand what I want to emphasize by including this as a separate sub-heading in this list of advertising techniques is that this is what makes the best ads work. If you can think of a creative andmemorableway of communicating your main selling point in aninstantthen you have a winning ad. The moreexciting,funny,ingenious,interesting, the better.

Dont worry if nothing comes to you all at once and it is okay to take inspiration from other creative ad ideas you see if you do not have the budget to hire a top advertising agency (which is the majority of small businesses!). Just think about it from time to time and experiment to come up with new ways of getting your message across visually and with the rightwords.

People like to feel good about themselves and you can effectively market your product or service by utilizing advertising techniques that compliment people for using it. LOral is the worlds largest cosmetics and beauty company and a large part of their success can be attributed to their decades-oldyou-centricslogan Because Youre Worth It which puts the focus on making the customer and not the product special.

Similarly, any number of ads selling cars to deodorants often show how people who use a certain product are hipper and trendier (while those who do not are not!). The message here is simple: you are cool if you use our product and you are not if you dont. As illogical as it might seem that people would buy into such messaging wholesale, they do. If you are honest with yourself, you will realize that a lot of the brands you identify with are because you see them as cool and that they then, by inference, make you look cool (more about this under Being Hip & Making Fun).

Similar advertising techniques aim at otheremotionswithin the complete spectrum of a buyers life by creatingfeel goodscenes of friends and family. Or it may be that you are shown atragicscene like the TV ads of poor children in developing countries that are aired during the holiday season. Other common themes are doing something good for parents / children, being the ultimate spouse, saving the day at the office and many others. These ads use the samedramatictechniques as soap operas and are designed to create an emotional response and attachment to your message (they work, too!).

This is a fancy term for advertising techniques that imbue characteristics oflifeto your product. This is a techniques that is widely used in animation where animals and even inanimate objects like furniture can be made to appearhumanlike. When we see an object exhibiting thebehaviorandemotionsof humans, we form a natural human connection with it. Why not use this concept for products? Well, advertisers have been doing just that for a long time. The famousM&Mcouple is a great example and this ad by Nike comes close by picturing a shoe as a rocket ship which is the same kind of idea (not humanlike, but very cool!).

More common that turning your product into a character is using another character as a mascot for your product or service. There are no ends of advertising techniques that do this using everything from animated characters to real ones. These characters can take on a variety of shapes, sizes and flavors but they all have one thing in common which ispersonality. I have written about the importance of developing amarketing personalityfor your business and the ultimate personification of this is a living, breathing or animated! – mascot who either embodies the positive qualities of your brand or stars in funny or dramatic scenes where your brand message can be played out.

A basic rule of business and life! – holds true for advertising techniques as well and that is that you will be judged by the quality of your ads. Just having a high quality production or an ad where it is obvious that a lot of time and effort has been spent in developing it makes a big impression on your customers and can speak highly of your brand itself. I am not a pro-alcohol person, but you cannot help but be impressed by the presentation of this Bacardi ad, for example. Taking the extra effort and paying the extra few dollars for high quality design, gloss and finish sends the message that you take care of other parts of your business as well which include having a high quality product or service.

We have all seen ads where customers or even actors provide testimonials and references for a given product or service and the effectiveness of these advertising techniques is well known. If you think about it, how much of what you buy is predicated around what others say? As for myself, I always read multiple reviews before going to watch a movie. I am sure you can find many instances where you rely on the reviews and opinions of others before making a purchase. This is one of the reasons behind the power ofviral marketingandsocial media marketing, the fact that many of us would rather trust other people like ourselves than slick branded commercials.

In this age of bigcelebrity endorsements, it is good to note that you dont have to cough up millions of dollars to a star like Justin Timberlake in order to use these advertising techniques. Think of the toothpaste ads that simply say, more dentist use this brand or the Duracell battery ads that provide anecdotal endorsements of everyone from medical staff to scientists to space astronauts who rely on their batteries. In the same way, you can weave endorsements into your advertising by identifying a group of users or a slice of yourmarket segmentthat can be used to sell other customers on the idea that you are the best at what you do.

Anything from a Better Business Bureau logo to this As Seen on TV sticker can add valuablecredibilityto your brand. Arent you more likely to purchase from a website that has multiple references from leading media outlets and security and safe transaction verifications? In the same way, whatever third-party references or referrals you can provide can be advertising techniques to help you convert more leads into sales.

The heart of a product is solving a customerproblemor providing a uniquebenefitand many effective advertising techniques are built around promoting that one simple fact. A lot of great ads create a powerful impact by depicting an extreme scenario that highlights the central problem that a given product solves or value that you provide (better than anyone else!). You can probably think of many examples of this, from pickup trucks hauling extreme weights to air fresheners that brighten colors and bring the whole surroundings to life to drinking a refreshment beverage and getting soaked by an inexplicable outburst of water.

Can you affordnotto? is a powerful question in sales and marketing and is used in advertising techniques that draw on the emotion of fear in order to get your customers to buy. Whether it be saving for a rainy day, insuring against accidents or providing for your familys health and wellbeing, there are no end of ads playing on our basic need to safeguard against negative eventualities. If nothing else, think about what it means to your customers not to deal with thepainthat your product or service provides for and see if you can build a creative advertising strategy around that.

Advertising techniques that incorporateannouncementscan be about anything from new products and improvements to special events, offers and more. Advertising ongoing news about your product, service and company is a standardemail marketing strategyand if you have something reallybigto announce, why not turn it into a standalone ad? Have you ever been tempted to follow up on an ad that announces a Limited Time Offer or a revolutionary breakthrough of some sort or another? It is human nature to want to stay informed and to be curious about new things.

Curiosity can be used in other ways amongst advertising techniques and it is not unusual to see ads that dont seem to advertise anything but rather are stepping stones to something else. For instance, you might see a full page Coming Soon ad in a newspaper that shows brand colors or some other recognizable feature which is then played out in coming days. Movie producers are great at using the power of curiosity to build upanticipationfor upcoming releases. This ad for the movie District 9 does a great job of advertising thethemeof the movie without making any reference to it (apart from the website). You do not need to go to such extremes to create an element ofmysteryandsuspensethrough the appeal of curiosity yourself.

The phrase, join the bandwagon! can be applied to advertising techniques that send the message that everyone else is using a certain brand and that you should be too. Curiosity and the fear of being left behind often compel people to follow up and even purchase because of the psychology that drives this approach. It is a fact that people in general spend a lot of time and effort keeping up with the Jonses, so to speak, and if you are honest you will be surprised to find that a lot of your own behavior is driven by social prerogatives as well.

This is the opposite of the bandwagon approach and is where advertising techniques are designed to make you feeluniqueby purchasing a certain product or service. A simple example are ads that tell you that you will miss long line-ups or get exclusive access (such as rental car service and airlines). This approach also applies to luxury brands that want to make you feel part of anelitegroup. The funny thing is that both techniques work: people want to feelspecialbut also want to feel like they are not missing out on what everyone else is doing. Go figure, human nature!

McDonalds are the king of big logos and prove the notion that advertising techniques incorporating the bigger is better approach can work exceedingly well. Like with everything else in sales and marketing and life! -, one technique cannot provide the answer for every situation and going big does not work for all brands and businesses. However, there is nothing like beingloudin order to attract attention and so as long as you have aqualityproduct or service to back up your advertising, you might looking at finding ways to trumpet your key selling point(s) within the marketplace.

Some people hold that correct sales and marketing etiquette requires that you do notbashyour competition because that makes you look bad. Other companies have grown tremendously by doing just that,taking shotsat the competition with every opportunity. Whichever approach suits you, it is nevertheless always a good idea topositionyourself as better than your competition with regards to your keydifferentiator(s). Whether or not you name your competition outright and whether or not you saying things like, they are a great company that I respect – a standard sales line! -, you should always let your customers know how you are better and this is also something that can be reflected in the advertising techniques you adopt.

Nothing like throwing somenumbersinto the mix in order to spice things up! Remember that when using statistics as various advertising techniques, the moreprecise, the better. So, saying 1 in customer satisfaction is good but saying, 89% of our customers rate our service 10/10 is better. You cannot be the best at everything, but if you are creative, you can often come up with areas where you can apply that sought-after1stamp to yourself. For example, if you are not 1 in your market, then perhaps you are in a certain geography or for a certain product or feature you provide.

A corollary to statistics are advertising techniques that reference studies. You will no doubt have seen many ads that begin with someone saying, Studies show… and then going on to relate a product or service benefit in a relevant way. The cool thing is that you do not have to perform the study yourself in order to benefit from this approach (aha!). Simply find relevant data and include it in your advertising either as a central focus or in passing (e.g. Are you one of the 23% of Americans that suffer from…?).

They say that it takes7 impressionsfor a customer to retain your brand message. That means that a customer needs to see your message or variations of it that many times in order to recognize it and for it to influence him. As well as the actual repetition of your ads themselves during the length of campaigns, these advertising techniques may be applied to your message itself where you repeat key phrases and your value proposition in order to your customer to retain those points. Absolut Vodka has created a dominant brand through its iconic ads which repeats the same imagery idea in endlessly creative ways (like I said, I am not a fan of drinking but, hey, the ads are good!).

Part of what makes successful advertising techniques is relating to thelifestyleandvaluesof your customers with your brand. Being hip is about positioning yourself as asocialnecessity for people within your target audience who want to express themselves to others. Brands like Rayban sunglasses and Doc Martin boots have been successful at appealing to the hip factor and breaking into mainstream success. Can you make your product or service fashionable in the eyes of others so that people will consider you cool?

Where there is cool, there must also be uncool! Some advertising techniques go the opposite route to positioning users of their brand as desirable by making fun of those less fortunate people who do not (as well as making fun of other brands themselves!). You have no doubt seen many of these kinds of ads where anyone from the office nerd to the unseemly neighbor is represented with unattractive qualities that highlight the attractive qualities of brand users. The result is the same: using your product or service is socially desirable. Advertisers want you to believe that only winners use their products and that in fact using the brand itself will make you cool. Can you say something to the same effect in your messaging (e.g. dont settle for less)?

This is a spin of the classic sales technique of giving your customers alternatives, each of which result in a purchase. For example, well trained restaurant servers will ask questions like, Would you like Coke or Pepsi with that? The classic example of this is Henry Fords famous statement about his Model T Ford: you can have it in any color you like, as long as its black. What these advertising techniques boil down to is giving your customerschoiceand making sure you advertise it: Do you want another size, shape or color? Do you want to purchase on finance? Do you want to personalize it? The ideal approach to this line of thinking isdesigningthese features into your product. What you want to do is offer your customers everything that they can find from a competitor (and more!).

The best advertising techniques that employ this method simplytellcustomers what to do in a way that makes refusing seem out of the question (the mediocre ones say things like Call Today! or Order Now! which uses the same method). In some scenarios, an ad can be structured like asales scriptwhere youaskcustomers about their problem and then posit the purchase of your product or service as being the only reasonable course of action if that really is the case. Its almost like saying, if you are suffering from so and so then you would be silly not to buy this. As the very least, think about ways of trying out statements that simplyaskyour customers to buy.

Sometimes you can simply behave as if a customer has already decided to purchase you product and include statements like, Your order will be shipped within 3 business days and We appreciate your business. Essentially, these kinds of advertising techniques communicate with your customer in a way that says, we know you are going to purchase this and that is not even in question. It does not take a degree in psychology to come up with subtle assumptive remarks of this nature within your advertising and a good way of picking up on these is to study ads that you come across yourself on a day-to-day basis. I like the way this Lancôme ad says, Time for Your Gift and assumes the purchase.

Painting apictureof your customer enjoying the benefits of your product or service is a classic sales technique and one of the most powerful advertising techniques as well. Remember that visualization can bespokenandwrittenas well as by using visual images. Phrases like, think about how nice it will be to… and imagine yourself… set the scene for a customer and allow their mind to do the selling for you. It practically impossible not to visualize something that you are told to: picture a sleek, black car streaking along on a dark, moonlit night. What did you just do? See??

The Microsoft ad above under Visualization also demonstrates exaggeration and this Hot Pepper hot sauce ad also shows what I mean by these kinds of advertising techniques. This is a fundamental techniques increative advertising: figure out your key selling point and then create an exaggerated scenario of it in order to hammer the message home instantaneously. There are no end of ads that do this and if you pay attention you will notice how prevalent this advertising technique is. I can think of a number just of of the top of my head including showing a couple of tortoises chatting about Internet speed and one of my favorite ads for Nabob coffee I prefer Colombian Juan Valdez! – which shows a man practically destroying his living room and wringing out an expensive carpet to save a cup of spilled coffee.

Just as you are associating your brand with the ultimate ideal lifestyle and values of your customers, you can also use advertising techniques that associate your product or service with the finer things in life in general (or with anything that you want to). The obscene ad for Bentley I could not help posting above with the other car ads above nevertheless is a powerful image of association by instantly conveying a rich, upper class aloofness that rises above the competitive bickering of the other ads. What kind of things do your target customers like that you can use to appeal to them by associating your brand with those things? It might be something non-intuitive such as referencing exotic vacations in passing if you are marketing to hectic professionals which positions your brand as a break from their busy lives.

Patriotism may be the last refuge of a scoundrel according toSamuel Johnsonbut it also sells. To feel an affinity for ones roots and country is natural and to position your brand as such is not a bad thing. Tim Hortons coffee is considered a national brand in Canada and is thought of with a lot of patriotic fondness by most customers. You can see that in in this branding example, Tim Hortons is associating itself with Canadas national pastime (hockey) on Canadas nation TV station (CBC). You can also micro-size your patriotism to fit your local region, culture and tastes.

While this kind of messaging is usually reserved for non-profit organizations and the like, there are advertising techniques through which any business can utilize a similar angle for sales and marketing promotion. The name of the game is to build you brand and if you can do this by providing a valuable and helpful message, then so much the better. You dont have to go out of your way to create an iconic campaign like the popular Got Milk? ads in order to provide a public service message to your customers and the general public. Rather, think of useful messaging around your field or industry which you can provide in advertisements, newsletters and others notices (fantastic examples of these are the famoushouse adsby advertising genius David Ogilvy where he gave away the secrets of advertising in order to show his firms own expertise).

This is another common practice among advertising techniques where you link your brand to the support of an organization, cause or event in order to promote your own brand in doing so. Most Fortune 500 type companies have one or more charities that they publicly support and it is not unusual to see corporate sponsorship branding on everything from sporting events to TV shows to most any other high-publicity event (wherever there are lots of people, you will find lots of commercial interest!). Can you find a local group, organization or event to support? You dont have to go out of your way and invest a huge budget in order to do this effectively: what about a simple homemade banner at your local Little League baseball games?

Emotionis at the heart of what makes advertising techniques successful and so you could say that this is a vital ingredient that applies to any kind of advertising. Unless you can create an emotional reaction within the person who views your ad, you will not make a lasting impression on them. Creating dramatic situations is one way of doing this and you will no doubt be familiar with many ads that do this, from TV ads showing family emergencies to creative print ads that showcase a dramatic scene within the lives of typical customers. How can you create drama around the problem you solve or the benefit you provide? It does not have to be negative but can bepositivedrama as well, such as incorporating a success story or image into your ad to showcase your value.

Having metaphors, similes and allegories incorporated into your sales and marketing communications means the kinds of advertising techniques that compare using your product or service to something positive in order to make a favorable impression. What that long sentence means is that you can simply come up with creative ways to show how nice or beneficial your product is and leave it at that. Its like a kid holding their hands far apart and saying, I love you THIS much! Just finding a creative way to say how great you are bypasses the need to talk in detail about your product, service or the benefit you provide.

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