I spent many years in advertising. Its role is to inform, entice and raise the interest of the potential customer in the product or service being advertised. The customer is then provided with details where they can have their desire fulfilled.
Advertising does not sell. It pushes people to enquire and be excited about a product, it can even have the viewer prepared to reach into their pocket ready to buy, but it doesn’t collect the money. It does not completely fulfil the desire. (It’s why there are so many insecure advertising people and they will only talk about how pretty their creations are, and the number of awards they have won. But that’s another story.)
The best fulfilment engine is the internet.
It is always ready, always prepared to help you browse, compare, highlight, find the mountain of information you need to make a decision. All those things you can’t do in a 30 second TVC or a double page magazine ad.
It is there to fulfil the tease and the promise of advertising rhetoric.
So, why is it that so often when I follow a link from an advertisement, I see another advertisement. Ever been on a date where everything is going fantastically well? You know this is going to be a special evening. You arrive at the front door, you kiss, and then the door is opened by your date’s mother.
That’s what this kind of advertising is like. You see it everyday. Ads with a link that lead to microsites. For example, take the most recent Optus Ad. Beautiful isn’t it? Great production values. I get the message about being able to communicate well. Yes, it does have its rewards. Yes, that’s so right.
And notice on the end is the link to the Optus online microsite for Whalesong. But what do I find there?
Oh, no, please God save me. It’s a site where the creatives show their mothers how clever they are.
Yes, believe it or not, I can go there and make my own whale music by using the keyboard. Is that what Optus does? What are they trying to tell me? Or sell me? I wanted to communicate well, but I don’t do business with whales.
“Oh, that’s so clever, dear” says the creative’s mother as she opens the door dousing any desire you may have thought you had.