Ten Rules for More Effective
states that if a thing is done wrong often enough, it becomes right, and as a result, volume
becomes a defense to error. When advertising fails to sway consumers, most advertisers
follow Leahy's Law by increasing the frequency of the advertising hoping that more of what
is not working will somehow work when consumers are subjected to more of the same.
Use the following
10 simple rules to evaluate the advertising you encounter. You may be disappointed,
but don't be surprised when you discover that most advertising fails to follow any of the rules.
1. Does the ad tell a simple story, not just convey information?
good story has a beginning where a sympathetic character encounters a complicating situation,
a middle where the character confronts and attempts to resolve the situation, and an end where
the outcome is revealed. A good story does not interpret or explain the action in the story
for the audience. Instead, a good story allows each member of the audience to interpret the
story as he or she understands the action. This is why people find good stories so appealing
and why they find advertising that simply conveys information so boring.
the ad make the desired call to action a part of the story?
good story that is very entertaining but does not make a direct connection between the desired
call to action - the purpose of the ad - and the story is just a very entertaining story. The
whole point of the story in advertising is to effectively deliver the desired call to action.
If the audience does not clearly understand the desired call to action after seeing the ad,
then there is no point in running the ad. Contrary to popular belief, having an entertaining
story and clearly delivering the desired call to action are not mutually exclusive.
the ad use basic emotional appeals?
that trigger our emotions are saved and consolidated in lasting memory because the emotions
generated by the experiences signal our brains that the experiences are important to remember.
There are eight basic, universal emotions - joy, surprise, anticipation, acceptance, fear,
anger, sadness, and disgust. Successful appeals to these basic emotions consolidate stories
and the desired calls to action in the lasting memories of audiences. An added bonus is that
successful emotional appeals limit the number of exposures required for audiences to understand,
learn, and respond to the calls to action - people may only need to see emotionally compelling
scenes once and they will remember those scenes for a lifetime.
the ad use easy arguments?
to conclusions" literally gave our ancestors an advantage even when the conclusions that
made them jump were wrong because delaying actions to review information could have deadly
consequences. Easy arguments are the conclusions people reach using inferences without a careful
review of available information. Find and use easy arguments that work because it is almost
impossible to succeed when working against them.
the ad show, and not tell?
is believing" and "actions speak louder than words" are two common sayings that
reflect a bias and preference for demonstrated behavior. This is especially true when interests
may not be the same. Assume audiences are skeptical about any advertising and design advertising
that shows and does not tell.
the ad use symbolic language and images that relate to the
prefer symbolic language and images that relate to the senses. People are far less receptive
and responsive to language and images that relate to concepts. Life is experienced through
the senses and using symbolic language and images that express what people feel, see, hear,
smell, or taste are easier for people to understand, even when used to describe abstract concepts.
The language and images used in advertising should "make sense" to the audience.
the ad match what viewers see with what they hear?
expect and prefer coordinated audio and visual messages because those messages are easier to
process and understand. Audio and visual messages that are out-of-sync may gain attention,
but audiences find them uncomfortable.
the ad stay with a scene long enough for impact?
have limited mental processing capacities. Quick cuts to different scenes require people to
devote more of their limited resources to following the cuts and less resources to processing
each scene. It takes people between eight and ten seconds to process and produce a lasting
emotional response to a scene. Camera movement or different camera angles of the same scene
can engage people through their orienting responses while providing enough time for them to
process the scene.
the ad let powerful video speak for itself?
the processing capacity of our brains is limited and words may get in the way of emotionally powerful
visual images. When powerful visual images dominate - when "a picture is worth a thousand
words" - be quiet and let the images do the talking.
the ad use identifiable music?
can be a rapidly identified cue for the recall of emotional responses remembered from previous
advertising. Making the same music an identifiable aspect of all advertising signals the audience
to pay attention for more important content.
These rules take into consideration consumers' out-of-conscious processing systems.
To learn more, go to The Scintillating Grid.
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