In a recent post I pointed out that the advertising industry in Britain has never been more buoyant, with growth in the amount of money spent on advertising rising year by year.
So it may come as a bit of a shock to learn that at the same time most surveys in the UK and the USA show that more people generally dislike adverts than like them.
That finding may well accord with your own feelings about other firms’ adverts, and certainly it explains why many people avoid adverts where they possibly can.
Indeed a survey conducted by YouGov shows that while 28% of people dislike advertising a lot, only 5% say they like it a lot.
Now if you think, “how could anyone like advertising a lot?” then it is time to pause, because part of the job of anyone who is interested in communicating with both customers and potential customers is to get the recipient of the advert to like their adverts.
Generally, people aged 30 to 44 (increasingly the age of school managers) have the most positive outlook towards advertising, while those aged 65 or over have the least positive view (which is fine in selling to teachers, since they mostly retire long before that).
However “likeability” doesn’t automatically mean that an advert is effective – although it is a start.
At the same time we must remember that many research programmes have suggested that most people perceive themselves not to be influenced by advertising and take the view that “some people” might be so influenced, but not them.
Indeed this vision even holds sway among many people who write or place advertising for their companies as part of their work!
And this is where difficulties can arise, for in essence by saying, “I’m not influenced by any advertising but my customers are,” one is treating one’s customers as different from oneself, and that can make it quite hard to create an advert that the audience will respond to.
Fortunately there is a way around this, and that comes from studying adverts (which one should always do if one is planning to write adverts), and it is geared around this idea…
Start by looking at adverts in the medium that you are planning to use. So, for example, if you are going to send out some email adverts, read all the email adverts that come into your account, rather than just delete them as they come in.
Leave aside the fact that the advert is completely irrelevant to you, and instead focus on how each is written, what it says, how it takes the message forward.
Keep doing this until you can collect half a dozen emails that you think, “yes, I can see how this works and how it might pull some people towards making a purchase.” And then consider what it is that all of these adverts have in common.
It is an activity you might like to take on at some time during the Christmas break. It certainly can be rewarding because it will tell you a lot about the psychology of reading an advert.