Information, entertainment and a beer with Daz

Recently I caught up with an old mate, Daz, for a beer.

Daz has an interest in a small business called Bark Blowers. Put simply, this service allows customers to have sand, soil, blue metal, pebbles or mulch installed without having to unload/reload on site. Through a powerful pneumatic hose system, you quite literally spray the product wherever you want it.

Recently, they’d done a commercial through a regional TV station. The station produced the ad for very little cost but he was unhappy with it. He said it was wall-to-wall voiceover and seemed like it just yelled ‘heaps of shit’ at the viewer. Knowing I worked in advertising, he asked my opinion on whether ads should be packed full of information, or whether having a strong element of entertainment was more important.

I answered that it’s an age-old topic discussed between advertisers (who tend to support ‘information’) and their agencies (who tend to support ‘entertainment’). Having worked for a regional TV station in a previous life, I also told him that they produced his ad so cheaply because their motive was to give him something he could run on air (where they make their money in air time).

I suggested that these are some things he might like to consider:

  1. Nobody turns on their TV to be yelled at (or even sold to, for that matter).
  2. Information-rich may be received favourably by those viewers who, at the very time of the ad going to air, are in the market for the services of his product.
  3. On the other hand, taking the ‘entertainment’ route  will give your message a longer shelf life, provided it’s done well. This is because good ads get noticed by more people. So, besides getting noticed by those who are currently in the market, the entertainment factor also often appeals to those who are not in the market at that particular time. However, there’s a good chance they’ll recall it in the future if they need that service.
So, in this way, the ‘entertainment’ route gives you more bang for your buck, provided the entertainment part of your ad is relevant. 
However, this  chat with Daz over a beer also highlights another of the challenges facing Adland at the moment – namely, the longevity of an ad or campaign, and how to get the most value from it.
This topic is discussed here, where a few of the readers’ comments suggest the way marketers should rethink their communication strategies.
Similarly, Nick Law from R/GA talks about this subject in a video filmed in 2009.
It might seem that in a ‘throw away’ world, we’ve even made the advertising too disposable.
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