THE TRUE PURPOSE OF ADVERTISING
Advertising – Any messaging, regardless of medium or vehicle,
intended to change or reinforce target-customer perceptions to drive sales.
Super Bowl LIII is scheduled to be held on February 3, 2019, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. That’s 66-days from the date of this publication of Marketing Matters. My Chicago Bears team is working hard to make it there this year, on the playing field not in the stands. And, leading brands are feverishly working to develop advertising in the form of TV commercials that will be aired and showcased in this much sought-after broad-reach medium.
It’s not surprising then that the 19 November 2018 issue of Ad Age carries an interview with Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Matrix, “Q&AA – BIG GAME GURU.” Why? Well, Ace Matrix is an ad analytics company that’s collected and analyzed more than 80,000 television ads. Mr. Daboll is an experienced, wise and insightful executive whose company’s services are desperately needed to improve the productivity of advertising. However, while the website states, “Ace Metrix helps advertisers, agencies and publishers design creative to drive sales,” there’s little in the interview that would address, no less suggest, the true purpose of advertising.
There’s talk in the interview about what the majority of creatives get right about Super Bowl advertising. Specifically, “Super Bowl ads are usually good at telling a great story, delivering an emotional message or some inspiring kind of thing, or at being funny.” But is any of this the true purpose of advertising? Perhaps, one might demonstrate that they are potential roads to getting there but they should not be confused with its destination – the true purpose of advertising.
To me the purpose of advertising has always been to effect attitudes or perceptions about a given brand with a specific target-customer to achieve a SMART behavior objective (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timebound), which leads to driving sales. That goes for any advertising regardless of the medium (i.e., broadscale, traditional advertising such as TV commercials or journal print ads, or use of digital media such as websites and YouTube) or programming venue (e.g., Super Bowl or Tim Ferris podcast, etc.).
As David Ogilvy declared. “It’s not creative unless it sells.” Ah, that’s it! The purpose of advertising is purely and simply to sell, Sell, SELL.
So, I really don’t care what everyone thinks about my advertising. I only care what my target-customer thinks. I don’t care how many of them that I reach. I only care about how many I connect with, and who connect with, my brand. I don’t care if they think my advertising is funny or entertaining or heart-warming. I only care if it gets my target-customers to see my brand in a new light to trigger the behavior needed (e.g., switch or increase transaction size or trade-up, whatever) to make the sale. I don’t care if they’re talking about my advertising around the water cooler the day following this major “adstravaganza” or if they feature it in Ad Age. I only care that they are purchasing, asking for, prescribing or using my brand. That’s the true purpose of advertising!