Monday, February 20, 2006

What's this ad selling?

If you've ever watched a commercial or seen a print ad and wondered what the heck the product in question is, you may be interested in this article from Forbes called Advertising Vs. Entertaining. In it, the author expresses his frustration with "fluff" ads that try to be funny or otherwise entertaining but neglect to explain the features and benefits of the product being pushed. At the beginning of the year, marketing-types were coming out with their marketing predictions of the year, one of which was that marketers would become entertainers and that companies would put on concerts, etc. to promote their products in more subtle ways. I've noticed some libraries also getting in on the entertainment game with hosting music events in their coffee bars, etc. There's nothing wrong with this, in my opinion, so long as key messages about products and services are not left out of the equation, as the author of this article points out. I suspect that promotion efforts that try too hard to be funny are either a) hiding a flawed product and/or b) assuming that the audience wouldn't be interested in knowing about "boring" things like facts and product features. The latter is really not giving audiences enough credit. Library services may or may not be the most exciting products to sell (relatively speaking), but if they are well-designed for the right market, detailed information about them would be welcomed and greeted with enthusiasm. To use the oft-cited car buying example, I may not be enthralled by the ins and outs of air bags and seat belts in and of themselves, but if I am a consumer who is interested in these features in the context of safety, I may very well want to know the details and could care less if they are presented in a funny way. It's helpful to keep in mind that promotional efforts are intended to flaunt our great services, not hide them behind jokes (although, a sense of humor is definitely not a bad thing!)


bbst said...


Jill said...

Hello! Test received. :)