The Power Of Advertising

Caroline Harrison’s latest Insight considers how some advertisers shun traditional advertising methods and rules to grab your attention.  The million dollar question is how much does this really work?…

Earlier this year Cadbury’s Dairy Milk ran an advert on TV which featured various cartoon-like airport vehicles racing along a runway to the tune of Queen’s 1979 hit ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’.  After two minutes of this strange scene, the advert came to a conclusion with a giant bar of the aforementioned chocolate appearing in the middle of the television screen.

The first time I saw this advert it held my attention for two reasons: firstly, the fact that Don’t Stop Me Now is one of my all-time favourite songs kept me hooked, but secondly, I was also quite mystified by what was happening in the advert.  Was it promoting a new Disney/Pixar animated movie like ‘Cars’?  Was it mocking the Heathrow Terminal 5 fiasco which was all over British newspapers at that time?  I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be an advert for chocolate – after all, where was the link between what was unfolding on the screen and the product the advert was promoting?

What I don’t actually remember thinking at any point was ‘I must go out and buy myself a bar of Dairy Milk‘, so in that sense the advert failed in its job.  However, there is no doubt that it did elicit some kind of response from me: it propelled me to ask friends whether they themselves had seen the advert; it made me forcibly stop family from leaving the room if the advert came on TV so they could ‘experience’ it too; and I am today talking about it in this Blog post.  In many ways I have, in effect, been doing the job of advertising this product on behalf of Cadbury’s.

Advertising serves many different purposes: broadly speaking most adverts aim to either create awareness and/or trigger a direct response, whether by informing and educating, reminding or motivating.

Some adverts are blatant, in-your-face hard sell, encouraging you to buy, buy, buy.  Others adopt a ‘softer’ and more subtle approach, informing you about a product or service and perhaps bringing to your attention its benefits. And then, of course, you have the adverts, like the one in question, which I believe are designed purely to make you sit up and take notice; to grab your attention in some unique way; to create a buzz and generate interest in the offering.

I’d be very interested to know what impact this latest campaign by Cadbury’s has had on sales of Dairy Milk.  For me personally, hearing the song Don’t Stop Me Now does not actually stimulate thoughts of chocolate, whether Dairy Milk or any other kind.  Anyone who has ever lived in the Manchester area of England will probably understand that the shopping mecca that is The Trafford Centre has already become intrinsically linked with this song following years of TV & radio advertising.  What a shame that when I hear a great song I think of a shopping centre!  But then doesn’t that just demonstrate the power of advertising?

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