Advertising in plain terms is “the public promotion of a product, service, business, or event in order to attract or increase interest in it.” It is an essential trade tool required to create awareness, solicit acceptability and/or increase sales of a product or service, thereby reinforcing the “brand.” As a result, advertisements at times blend coaxing messages with factual information.
Although certain isms believe that an excellent product or service should “speak for itself”, hence little or no advertisement might be required. Howbeit, publicity of such is usually the first avenue via which the existence of such a good or service is taken cognisance of, ab initio. Proponents of this school of thought seem to be unmindful of the various types and media of advertising that exist. Publicising a product could range from informal words of mouth, reference/advice to formal, contemporary, state-of-the-art techniques. Advertising (in its various forms) serves as an indispensable arena where promotion of goods and services can be jump-started.
Advertising dates back to historic times. With the invention of papyrus during the First Dynasty era (about 3100 to 2890 BC), Egyptians likewise ancient Greeks and Romans had created various forms of commercial messages and political campaign displays. It has also been recorded that as printing developed in the 15th and 16th centuries, advertising throve into handbills. In the 17th century, advertisements began to appear in English newspapers.
The advent of television and radio broadcasting completely revolutionised promotion of goods and services. Increasingly, cable television played an unprecedented role when introduced in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The internet created new cutting-edge technologies and avenues for marketing purposes, with the boom of innumerable websites for businesses to interactively reach their legion of customers.
With the emergence of a materialistic 21st century world, business promoters are always at neck-and-neck rivalry – a fierce competition aimed at grasping the attention and better still, the pockets of a more cognisant pool of consumers. These, indeed are exciting times!
In present times, advertising via whatever means, has gone highly cerebral while scintillatingly appealing to all the senses of already captured or potential customers. This probably has continuously informed the extraordinary adverts placed by the No. 1 beverage company in the world – Coca-Cola.
The Coca-Cola company has established its brand worldwide. It is said the word “Coke” is among a couple of the most popular in the world that requires no translation to any language or form of dialect! – “Coke” in Luxembourg does not change its pronunciation and meaning in the Americas, Asia or Africa. Despite the fact that one can safely say Coca-Cola has crushed almost every form of competition, provided varieties of its products and captured a wide range of consumers, the Asa Candler-brand has not ceased to expand its frontiers in any possible manner. It has relentlessly “shifted the demand curve to the right” so that its consumers will buy more of its products at the same price. This is spelt out in its recent “Coke side of life” campaign.
In its various forms, one that readily charms is the “It’s Brrrrrrh on the Coke Side of Life” version. This parades a contemporary Negro chief (with his toothy, afro-hair, megaphone-holding page) experiencing a “vibration” after sipping some Coke. It also shows a parrot losing its feathers to the brrrrrrh phenomenon. The shake-up experience furthermore finds expression in a football fan that couldn’t brrrrrrh hitherto until the Coke substance gets into his digestive streams. Brrrrrrh is depicted to be a sensational thrill one experiences after drinking the more-than-a-century old soft drink. Coca-Cola has consistently trail-blazed advertising. Creativity is the key! And this is the essence of this write-up.
In spite of nouveau developments and exhilaration designed to aid advertising in all its ramifications, the advertising landscape in certain climes appears to be parched, colourless, monotonous and non-inventive. In recent times, some adverts have lost the tonic of originality and inspiring ingenuity. This is usually played out in copious ads as observed daily: For a number of industries, what is often seen is a “strange object” that suddenly appears in the sky. This catches the attention of various individuals – the market woman, the newspaper vendor, the corporate executive, the taxi driver, the shop owner, et cetera – as they chase this “object” (which is usually the company’s logo or brand) through market places, highways and byways, across streams, rivers and some times transoceanic! It’s either this or an adaptation of same. One could almost predict what certain adverts are about at first glance and after watching for moments.
Apart from creativity, another major problem with the present lack-lustre adverts has to do with the targeted audience/viewers or market. Most intended consumers often fail to understand or get the message about the product or service being advertised. I once watched an advert clip on a cable TV with a number of individuals as we waited in a banking hall. One of the viewers voiced openly he couldn’t understand the “nonsense”! Intellectually, it was light years beyond him.
Be it as it may, it is expected that advertisers and promoters need a brrrrrrh (in more concrete terms, a shake up). While it is not being required of advertisers to “re-invent the wheel”, it is expedient they make the use of the wheel further attractive. They should be more creative, imaginative, resourceful and original with their adverts.
It’s time to get some shake-up. Let’s go brrrrrrh on the creative side of advertising!