Narrowcasting Your Message To The Right Audience

Credit for today’s blog goes to the gods of procrastination. Sauntering over to youtube early this afternoon and throwing productivity to the wind in search for some classic Tracy Chapman I was greeted with this disapproving message:

I have to applaud the marketers behind this advertising campaign for their ingenuity. Youtube is the procrastinator’s paradise – which the advert taps into, with the actor (handsome and commanding Max Beesley) chastising the viewer “What you watching this for? I thought you were serious about changing your job”, then giving you an encouraging fatherly nod “come on, press pause”.

Let’s face it, if you have the free time to be browsing youtube on a weekday afternoon, you’re more than likely: a) unemployed; b) bored in your current job; or c) a student.

In all three cases, an advert for a jobsite is likely to make you think that you should be doing something about your personal situation. The advert offers a solution, and plants firmly in the viewers consciousness. It’s like reminding someone than they need to do more exercise and then selling them a gym membership!

Another example of excellent target marketing is this advert for Johnnie Walker. It’s six minutes long, tells the history of the Johnnie Walker brand, and stars one of the finest actors ever to emerge from Scotland, Robert Carlyle. More impressively, it was filmed in a single take, with very little margin for error (you’ll see why). Incidentally, this was the last take of 40.

This advert is an interesting case study because it was part of a cinema campaign. This environment is much more suitable for a six minute ad, as you can’t hit the mute button or channel surf (apparently, 2/3 of people do this). Crucially though, this is also an audience much more likely to appreciate the qualities that make the advert so good, such as the story telling, the technical and acting skill required, the involvement of a high profile actor, and the atmosphere and scenery.

What also appeals to me about these two adverts is that they are not designed for repeated viewing – the impact they have is based on one exposure. There is a psychological basis to this – research actually suggests that if exposure to a company is too high, it can create ambivalence towards an advert and lower the reputation of a company (Brooks & Highhouse, 2006). My own observations and experiences also tell me this is true – is there anything more annoying that seeing the same adverts over and over again?

I wanted to share these adverts with you as two good examples of brands targeting a narrow section of the population extremely well. Dewan, Jing and Seidmann (2002) suggest that targeting favourable customers (narrowcasting, as they call it) through electronic media is a viable way for a seller to increase sales and reinvigorate static markets. I would love to hear of other examples from you guys. Do you think being exposed to an advert once can ever be as effective as repeated exposures? Perhaps you have some ideas that you think would make a similarly effective advertising campaign? Speak your brains!!

  1. It’s certainly an interesting idea that an individual ad may be more effective than repeated exposure. I would be inclined to believe that repeated exposure is preferable since the message is out there more often. A stude by Berger and Mitchel (1989) ( if your interested) has found that repeated exposure to ads makes the message more accessible from memory and can even shape our attitudes towards the product and beyond! However, in some cases I think that a single ad may be more effective given the right staging point (apples “1984” super bowl ad springs to mind given the sheer impact it had) and some should be seen once and never again such is the case with the dam go compare ad campaign!

  2. psub06 said:

    Those adverts are brilliant, and I love the fact that you found the first one through pure procrastination! On the one hand I do agree that it’d be better to see each advert once, and I would adore it if companies would show many different adverts and I always notice if companies a showing more then one ad on a sort of rotation… it makes it more interesting and much less tiresome to see them. But it would cost so much money it probably would be feasible for many companies to do this. Whilst the previous comment highlights the fact that seeing adverts repeated builds up a view and opinion of the brand, the adverts you found are very specific and I believe seem like they would be effective to their target audience, and probably wouldn’t be a method used generally for all products advertised. They were great finds!

Speak your brains

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