Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cultural Conversation

Advertising should always place the brand at the center of the cultural conversation.

This spot for Heineken speaks to how men can view a sophisticated brand of beer. The Heineken brand can hold its own in a parallel structure with expensive shoes.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Super Sunday Preview

KARE did a Super Bowl advertising report on the 10 p.m. news today. That's the NBC television affiliate for the Twin Cities.

Here's the first part, with my prediction on the overall sense of the commercials this year.

You can view the rest of the story on the KARE news website.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ask for the Order

Advertising should always ask for the order. This 1984 commercial by Y&R New York asks for the order in the very first frame, and then asks again and again and again.

In automotive advertising this commercial has yet to be surpassed.

The art director was Cary Lemkowitz wrote it. The art director and producer was Joe Puhy.

Their work is a textbook on how to make effective advertising.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Speaking of Cadbury. This commercial dates from the 1980s, back when I was in the creative department at Y&R in New York. It demonstrates the power of unexpected metaphor.

The collision of two metaphors demonstrates high level advertising creativity. You can't create a new idea if you have only one idea.

Right now I can't recall the name of art director and the writer. But, I am checking and will up-date this post as soon as I find out. The voice over in this commercial is by Mason Adams.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Reward Theory of Communication

As I stated in an earlier blog post, attention is the most valuable commodity in the society and economy.

Viewers, listeners and readers give their attention. In return they must receive value. This leads us to the Reward Theory of Communication.

As advertisers we must provide information that is perceived as having more value than the time we borrow from the audience.

Cadbury's latest commercial is exemplary. It captures our attention, delivers enjoyment, and reminds us why we value the brand and its products.

I am pretty sure Grant Wood would have appreciated the visualization.

Many thanks to Aaron E. for finding this commercial. It is very viral.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Power in Icons

The latest work for Coca-Cola is brilliant.

Basically, it's Rorschach meets Pavlov.

The spot takes the risk to be dramatically different, and pays it off with a brand insistent story that reinforces the iconic symbols of the brand.

Here's the spot. How many times do you see iconic Coca-Cola symbols? Let me know.

The spot was done by Weiden+Kennedy, the agency based in Portland.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Humor in Super Sunday Commercials

Just seven days until Super Sunday. For advertisers in the United States, it is the last of the largest reach audiences.

There are many news stories about the cost (said to be $3 million for 30 seconds this year) as well as the advertisers who are in or out. Last Friday, the online New York Times used an interactive timeline beginning in 1984 to show the advertisers and types of commercials each year.

I made a graph out of the percentage of spots the NYT said employed humor in each of the years. It shows growth in the "theory of liking" as an approach to creating advertising. Everyone wants to be liked, and effective humor can deliver attention, liking and memorability.

GE is preparing a Super Sunday commercial this year. It features a "spokes-scarecrow" for GE's eco-imagination campaign. I'd watch for this one as an effective use of humor.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Admirable Work

Although short form commercials are interesting and useful, longer form brand journalism will continue to play its role building brands.

This new commercial by AlmapBBDO in São Paulo shows us why.

The words of the song, "When the night has come, and the land is dark..." gently remind us of the challenging days ahead with respect to energy use. A story about a charming hybrid unfolds, and we are left with positive feelings about the core values of the brand.

One of my students observed, "The spot is a metaphor for the VW as the man's new best friend." This student will go far in advertising.

"When in doubt, rock it out!"

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

One Second Commercial

This one-second commercial for Miller Beer shows how you can very quickly convey brand information and "ask for the order."

Commercials have been getting shorter since the 1950s. Television time is expensive. And, in the Information Age, we want our information and we want it now. Just give it to us so we can move on.

Mobile devices work best with short bursts of information, and advertising can play a role in paying the freight. We will be seeing more one-second spots.

For more on how psychological theory informs the development of better advertising, please see Strategic Power of the Theory of Planned Behavior.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Future of Advertising

Having started this blog with history, let's turn to the future.

Twitter is a micro-blogging website. Many people use it to share status updates of no more than 140 characters (ideal for hand-held devices). Their status up-dates are called "tweets" of course. They use Twitter for everyday base-touching and sharing ideas.

Here is the Twitter location I set up today.

You can get news fast on Twitter. Ad Age helpfully tweets what's happening now in advertising.

Many public figures are tweeting. Mitch Kapor, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist, regularly posts interesting items. Shaquille O'Neal uses Twitter to extend his brand image with posts about what's happening and philosophical perspectives.

About 20 people tweet as though they are the characters in the Mad Men series on AMC. I am guessing these are advertising people who enjoy this show about advertising agency life in the 1960s. They are extending the lives of the show's characters in their interactions with each other.

People even tweet as though they are legendary advertising leaders. You'll find Bill Bernbach, David Ogilvy, Rosser Reeves, and Raymond Rubicam tweeting away. It appears Rosser and Raymond are having a cordial debate about the most effective advertising.

This points to a fundamental insight. The most valuable commodity in the world is attention. Advertising is all about getting attention.

You can read more about this in Richard Lanham's book The Economics of Attention: Style and Substance in the Age of Information. He is an emeritus Professor at UCLA. I think he has done an excellent job of explaining what is happening to the economy. He points the way to what advertising is becoming, and why what we do is so important for everyone.

You can find me on both Twitter and FaceBook. Happy to connect there. It's all about advertising after all.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Founder of the Psychology of Advertising

The first scientific experiments on the effects of advertising were conducted by Harlow Gale at the University of Minnesota.

Gale began this work in 1896 when he returned to the United States after studying with Wilhelm Wundt at the University of Leipzig. Wundt was the founder of the field of experimental psychology.

Here is a photo of Gale in his University of Minnesota office courtesy of the University of Minnesota Archives.

It looks like he enjoyed reading. I have two of his books. One is from a course he took in Leipzig (unfortunately I cannot read German). The other is a psychology text he must have used when he taught here at the University of Minnesota.

You can read more about Gale's historic experiments in this article in the Journal of Advertising. John Eighmey and Sela Sar (2007) “Harlow Gale and the Origins of the Psychology of Advertising,” Journal of Advertising, Volume 36, Number 4, pages 147-158.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Welcome to this Blog

Welcome to my blog about the Psychology of Advertising.

I'll post my observations about current items and point out helpful sources for thinking about advertising.

I teach the Psychology of Advertising. This course has a long tradition at the University of Minnesota.

This blog is meant for anyone interested in thinking about advertising. People like to study advertising.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.