Monday, July 29, 2013

Second Level Problem-Solution in Advertising

Problem-solution is one of the most effective formats for advertising. The approach places product demonstrations in strategic contexts.

In this Maple Leaf Bacon commercial we see what I call “second level problem-solution.” This homemaker is vexed by all the little things that don’t get done and should be shared. And, bacon can be annoying to prepare. There is all that extra fat to deal with.

The solution to one problem becomes the solution to another. The power of “second level problem solution” is double strong.

  Copyright © 2013 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Eighmey's Laws of Advertising

All of my students know Eighmey’s Laws of Advertising.

Eighmey’s Law of Advertising No.  7 is:  “When in doubt, rock it out.”

Rock music provides an endless wellspring of narratives placed in the context of enjoyable melodies.

On one level, such advertising is destined to succeed merely on the basis of attitude toward the ad. We enjoy the moment, so we like the brand that made us feel good.

Cognitive responses enter the picture when the narrative of the rock song plays directly to the brand’s selling proposition.

In this Vodaphone commercial, our heroine is waiting and hoping, yet the call never comes. But, when they meet again, his actions will be revealed. He won’t be able to blame it on his phone.

  Copyright © 2013 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Advertising's Revealing Window on America

I've recently assembled well over 400 print ads that reveal the emerging themes in the American economy, society and politics since 1880.

Beginning with the Gilded Age, you can see how the ideas and imagery in advertising look forward in predictive ways. There are 30 carefully selected and annotated items for each decade, with brief notes about the overall scene for the economy and innovation during each decade.

Now, you can place your understanding of advertising strategy and creativity in an historical context. To help you get started, here's a brief introduction to each decade, illustrated by one ad selected from the 30 for each decade.

Decade of the 1880s – Ascent of the Gilded Age

This was the rising decade of the Gilded Age, so named by writers Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner. Rapid economic growth covered widespread poverty. 

Expansion of railroads enabled commercial growth across the nation, although the South still remained devastated following the Civil War. Voting rights of Blacks were suppressed. Inventions included the solar cell, wind generator and coaxial cable.

National magazines grew in circulation carrying advertising to support the development of nationally known brand names. The realm of selling products began to shift from the world of the traveling salespeople with their trade cards to include a larger role for the developing field of national advertising.

Decade of the 1890s – Economic Panic and Hard Times

During this decade, ongoing rapid industrialization led to economic panic in 1893 followed by rising unemployment.

he Duryea brothers introduced the first successful gas powered automobile for sale. Other inventions included mechanical tabulating machines, clipless pedals for bicycles, medical gloves for physicians, bottle caps, shredded wheat, and the Ferris Wheel.

Decade of the 1900s – Realization of Progressive Era

This was a decade of scientific advancement, including the Theory of Relativity and the discovery of radioactivity. 

Edison invented the storage battery and Eastman invented the Brownie camera. Other inventions included the first plastic, cellophane, tractors, the airplane, the helicopter, radio, windshield wipers, safety razors, and crayons. 

Concerns about the common good led to new institutions such as the Food and Drug Administration. In advertising, the formal newspaper format was giving way to the open spaces of the magazine page.

Decade of the 1910s -  Age of Improvement

This decade exemplifies the "age of improvement" with advances in manufacturing, distribution and marketing. 

The first modern bras and zippers were introduced. Inventions included electrical ignitions for cars, Pyrex, stainless steel, movies with sound, tunable radios, and pop-up toasters. 

Near the end of the decade citizens conserved resources to support the war effort.

Decade of the 1920s – Roaring Growth Ends in Great Depression

The decade known as the "Roaring Twenties" brought in new ways of thinking. Also known as "The Dry Decade" with Prohibition lasting from 1920 to 1933. 

The NAACP was formed at a time when Blacks and their progress were under attack as shown in 1921 by horrific actions in Tulsa and other cities. Radio broadcasting emerged as an important local and national advertising medium.

Inventions included insulin, robotics, self-winding watches, 3-D movies, frozen food, traffic signals, the tommy gun, and Band-Aids.

Decade of the 1930s – Struggle for Progress

During this decade, the nation embarked on a contentious struggle to emerge from economic depression. Radio broadcasts and movies captured the attention of the nation. 

Inventions included radar, jet engines, nylon, Scotch Tape, drive-in movie theaters, golf carts, and parking meters. Stock car racing was introduced in 1936.

Decade of the 1940s – Unity on Purpose

The decade of the 1940s involved social and economic support for the war effort and the promise of new things to come when the war ended. 

Inventions included the first electronic digital computer, early software for computers, hypertext, synthetic rubber, aqualung for diving, aerosol spray cans, nylon, and color television. 

Public service advertising played an important role helping to inform citizens about the needs of the war effort. Product advertising often included war related information or themes.

Decade of the 1950s –  Roots of Change

This decade saw the spread of economic prosperity supported by the nation-wide focus on television, and the growth of suburbs, interstate highways, consumer products and the middle class. 

New products included transistor radios, credit cards, and Teflon pots and pans. Solar cells, invented nearly 70 years earlier in the 1880s, were finally brought to market. Inventions included power steering, super glue, circuit boards, optical fiber, and oral contraceptives.

Decade of the 1960s –  Children of the Revolution

In the 1960s new thinking about society and what we buy into began to collide with traditional ways. Children of the baby boom generation began to ask questions, as did many of their parents. 

Astroturf, acrylic paint, fuel injection, ATMs, permanent press, hand-held calculators, and Valium were introduced. Walmart opened in 1962. The moon landing was in 1969.

Decade of the 1970s – Realization of Limits

This decade introduced economic concepts such as "oil crisis" and "stagflation" along with concerns about the sustainability of the natural environment of the Earth itself. 

The limits of the nation's resource use became evident as the inevitability of the economic concept of “externalities” became real to many.  Responsibility became as valuable a concept as liberty.

Notable inventions included ethernets, microprocessors, LCDs, floppy disks, VCRs, and Post-It Notes.

Decade of the 1980s – Dawn of Instantaneousness

The decade of the 1980s began slowly. Then, the economy turned around resulting in the highest decade of growth in American history to that point in time. 

People began turning to email, computer games and home computers. 

Macintosh was introduced in 1984 and Microsoft quickly emulated with Windows in 1985. Cell phones appeared near the end of the decade. They were larger than today's phones.

Decade of the 1990s – Web of Resources

The World Wide Web communication protocol was introduced in 1990. Email usage grew rapidly with its significant advantages over phone message notes. 

Web resources were developed at a rapid pace. Web TV was introduced in 1996. Amazon became world's largest bookstore in 1997.  Google introduced its search engine near the end of the decade.

This otherwise prosperous decade ended with the collapse of a number of hastily developed Web-based businesses.

Decade of the 2000s – Deregulation Comes Home to Roost

Homeland security concerns arose with the events of September 11, 2001. There were continuing economic adjustments as the capabilities of information technology changed the way people work. 

A substantial economic crisis driven by unbridled and failing financial institutions disrupted the national economy. 

Instant text messaging was introduced in 2000. YouTube was introduced in 2005. In 2007, Google introduced maps based on wireless locations.

Decade of the 2010s – Struggle for the Future

Concerns about climate and the environment continue in the midst of ongoing loss of economic opportunity and the apparent disfunctionality of politics and government.

Now, if you now go to my Pinterest site, you can see well over 400 ads since 1880. AdmirableAds will show you how the advertising in each decade reveals the underlying themes in the economy, society and politics of America.

Advertising is indeed a window on America's past and future. 

   Copyright © 2013 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Apperception and Opt In Advertising

Viewer interest in online video advertising is increasing rapidly.  In June, 183 million Americans watched online advertising videos 44 billion times. That amounts to an average of 240 per month, or about 8 per day.

Studies show the web audience tends to avoid (click away or opt out) from forced exposure video advertising as soon as they can.

What is it that they want to watch?

Viewers are interested in this kind of advertising video because it is both informative and enjoyable.

In the Jaguar advertising video, a person with obvious expertise takes us through a demonstration in the context of a widely known event that challenges the product to perform. Hence, the viewer goes beyond perception to apperception.

When it comes to persuasion, this advertising video does not force a message argument in a traditional manner. Rather, the product is allowed to earn our appreciation by demonstrating its value in an emergent manner, inviting us to opt in.

  Copyright © 2013 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Advertising Window on Future

Shirley Polykoff was Senior Vice President, Creative Director, at Foote Cone & Belding when she retired in 1973, after 18 years of making advertising history. She was one of the most highly productive copywriters ever to work in advertising.

Polykoff founded her own advertising agency after retiring from FC&B. She received hundreds of creative awards including the top awards at the annual Venice and Cannes Festivals.

Here is a 1957 Clairol commercial written by Polykoff.

To understand her work, I advise you to think about the other-directed and inner-directed qualities of her advertising ideas. The copy in this commercial is about how others perceive the woman, yet the woman controls her own image, and the audience wants to know her secret.

The year 1957 is the moment where the women's movement is about emerge in America and this cleverly seditious commercial shows the woman in control. How does she do this? The audience wants to know.

Betty Friedan published the Feminine Mystique in 1963. She had conducted a survey of her former Smith College classmates in 1957. She discovered discontent, and this led her to her book.

Polykoff’s creative work in the 1950s shows how the content of advertising signals the underlying themes in the cultural conversation. For the observant, advertising is a window on the future.

   Copyright © 2013 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Online Video Advertising Coming of Age

ComScore has just released its latest online video rankings showing 183 million Americans watched online videos more than 44 billion times in June.  And, for the third month in a row views of online video advertising surpassed 20 billion.

I’ve made chart showing these results for all the ComScore monthly reports so far this year. You can see the upward trend for viewing of both advertising and non-advertising videos.

Here is a chart showing the advertising video viewing share out of the total views of all online video (advertising and non-advertising).

My chart indicates that online advertising videos are coming of age as a media factor. Next month online advertising videos may reach the marker point of  one-third of the entire realm of online video viewing in the United States.

   Copyright © 2013 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Midsummer's Public Mood

Near the end of every month the Conference Board reports the current status of the Consumer Confidence Index.

This index is an average of how adults in America feel about five factors: (1) current business conditions, (2) current employment conditions, (3) expectations for business conditions over the coming six months, (4) expectations for employment conditions over the coming six months, and (5) expectations for total family income for the coming six months.

It is called an index because the results for each month are reported with reference to the average results for the year 1985. Each monthly survey is based on about 3,000 completed questionnaires. The cut-off point for survey field-work is the middle of each month.  

Here are the results from January of 2007 through June of this year when the index reached 81.

The Conference Board's June, 2013, press release stated, “Consumers are considerably more positive about current business and labor market conditions than they were at the beginning of the year. Expectations have also improved considerably over the past several months, suggesting that the pace of growth is unlikely to slow in the short-term, and may even moderately pick up.”

Since February of 2009 the underlying public mood appears to be moving in a positive direction. The next report will be on July 30th.

    Copyright © 2013 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Diversity and Communication Power

Diversity promotes creativity. Other viewpoints can introduce us to new possibilities. And, what we already think we know can be appreciated in expanded ways.

This Skype commercial demonstrates the Cognitive Theory of Emotions. Through the narrative, we come to a deeper realization of both Skype and the importance of human contact. This personal story places the brand in the heroic role of keeping families together despite challenging circumstances of time and distance.

The lesson is that greater cognitive and emotional response comes from showing brands in unexpected, more diverse, circumstances. That is the direction for deeper meaning and greater impact in the marketplace.

   Copyright © 2013 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Outside the Bottle Thinking

“Ice cold” is the traditional invitation to refreshment seen on soft drink signs everywhere.

In Columbia, Coca-Cola has cleverly converted this traditional soft drink call to action into a surprising product innovation.

Advertising is best when it is about product news. Here, Coca-Cola, the world’s most popular beverage, is thinking “outside the bottle” to bring consumers the latest in convenient, enjoyable refreshment.

Vendors are said to be selling hundreds of bottles per hour on the beaches of Columbia.

  Copyright © 2013 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Introductory Advertising

The first lesson in advertising is that you must be different to succeed. There is no reason for consumers to spend time with advertising they have already seen a lot of.

Eighmey’s First Law of Advertising is “For any piece of advertising to work, it first must be seen, and to be seen it must be different.”

This explains why some American beer makers spend so much on advertising. They keep showing us the same old approaches and therefore they have to overspend on media to be noticed.

Success in advertising comes when you have the courage to try something really new.

My students know another of my Laws of Advertising: “When in doubt, rock it out.”

This points to rock music as a highly productive source of metaphors and narratives to capture attention and establish feelings so as to deliver selling propositions with inspiration and immediacy.

When it comes to what people seek and share in mass media and social media today, Tap King clearly understands both my philosophy of advertising and their own core consumers.

Lionel Richie is welcome everywhere, even in refrigerators (you could say he is one cool dude).

Everyone recognizes his rock ballad, but Richie’s performance turns the song around as the solution to the consumer problem.  We watch the commercial, we enjoy the surprise, we instantly appreciate the product.

This is one great commercial, and Tap King did not have to overspend on media to break through the clutter.

    Copyright © 2013 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Reminder Advertising

Reminder advertising is a common strategy used to counteract consumer forgetfulness.

We are surrounded by diversions, responsibilities, and calls to try the latest new things

Even when it comes to the most important considerations, reminders are still needed.

This Young & Rubicam public service advertisement appeared in 1945, as the war in the Pacific was coming to an end. At home, Americans were looking to the future, yet there were struggles to be concluded.

The copy reads:

Well, God here we are. 

You up there. Me down here, with a burning sun, a mess of insects, too much ocean, and other buddies as lonely as me. 

Oh God, how nice it must be back home, with Germany licked, and the folks humming, and some of the boys all finished with the fighting. 

But I guess that wasn't meant for me, was it? And tomorrow and tomorrow I will still be dodging bullets, still feeling lost in the middle of the night. 

Well no hard feelings. 

I will go wherever You say, and do whatever You want me to. For You know what is best for me. 

But say, if you can only get the people back home to remember me, maybe they'll still bear down. Maybe they'll still send us their blood, still stay on the job, still send us the stuff we need. 

You see God, I'd like to get home, too.

In 1945, this advertisement reminded the nation that soldiers were still at war, needing continuing support. This remains a relevant message even today.

Now, what makes for better advertising when it comes to mobilizing a nation?

This 1943 Young & Rubicam public service advertisement drew upon the advice of Elmer Davis, former correspondent for CBS Radio, who served as the Director of the Office of War Information during WWII.

Davis said better advertising should be based upon information, inspiration, and immediacy.

That is great advice in any era for any advertising.

    Copyright © 2013 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Patriotism and the Selling Proposition

It was reported in USA Today that a recent national survey discovered, when it comes to for-profit brands, Jeep is seen as the most strongly associated with “patriotism.”

Brands generally want to be heroic. They do so by solving consumer problems. They get out the deep down dirt, are easier to use, get us there more quickly, provide us with greater enjoyment.

But Jeep has a claim to something more.

Interestingly, the illustration in this 1943 Willys ad is of the defense of Stalingrad by Russian soldiers. Russia, one of the allied countries, had been provided with Jeeps by the American government.

Stalingrad is said to be one of the bloodiest battles in history. The Jeep advertising copy calls the defense of Stalingrad “an example of love of country” and credits the truck in aiding the heroic efforts of the Russian people defending their country from German attacks.

Certainly WWII imagery and nationalism play a role in Jeep's brand reputation. But, the overall consumer take-away has to be that Jeep is a tough, problem-solving truck. That’s the selling proposition.

   Copyright © 2013 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Celebrate to Sell

The Fourth of July is America's great national holiday to celebrate independent thinking.

Historically, the British were the counter-cultural force. Their red-coated soldiers came trampling all over, and King George tried to tax our tea.

But wait, what if some other nation had arrived on our shores?  Would America be the same?

Fiat has shown us what a revolutionary car commercial can be.  

It begins with the expected overly dramatic music and the cry “The British are coming.”

But, a second look reveals red cars not red-coats. The music becomes T. Rex’s rock anthem Children of the Revolution and the residents of Old Salem discover a revolution of another kind.

America’s future becomes cappuccino not tea, clubs not pubs, fashion not costumes.

This commercial celebrates to sell.

For more on the psychology of advertising please see, Patriotism and the Selling Proposition.

    Copyright © 2013 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.