On Any Given Day You Run An Ad
The Odds Are Against It
Advertising is thought to be “retail” if it delivers a short-term benefit. A sale, for instance. “Institutional” if it is designed to establish a long-term position.
These two objectives are generally incompatible within any single ad. Yet here’s the rub. Advertisers who depend on short-term messages have only one hope: that they’ll engage the customer at the moment the customer wants to buy. People who are simply waiting for the right ad with the right offer. It’s easy to demonstrate why this doesn’t work.
Consider that most people buy a new car every three years. That’s one day out of 1,000 they’ll be receptive to a short-term message. The other 999 days, forget it, they’re not interested. And your money is wasted. What’s more discouraging, consumers buy new washing machines or change banks even less frequently. So in the case of the new car, the probability that the consumer’s “purchase window” will coincide with an advertiser’s short-term message is one out of 1,000. Rotten odds.
At Weitzman, we have a name for the other 999 people who won’t respond to that ad. We call them customers for the future. Which brings us to our view of effective advertising.
A successful ad must engage the far greater number of people who aren’t looking to buy. These 999 people will eventually buy from the advertiser who establishes himself or herself with a meaningful, memorable, long-term position.
We approach advertising with a twofold purpose: To communicate a compelling short-term benefit in addition to a strategic long-term position. An ad that doesn’t address both is half an ad. Combining these two objectives in a single campaign is not just a theory. It’s a practical interpretation of advertising. If you’re not a retailer, we can think of 999 reasons why you should advertise like one.
Weitzman: An ad agency that works.