As I impatiently await the start of my YouTube music video, forced to endure some portion of an advert, I will occasionally choose to see it through - enticed by a particularly glamorous beauty product perhaps. But, for all my desire to look fabulous, I remain stationary, waiting for my intended content to resume. Seldom do I watch an advert and instantly feel compelled to go and make the purchase, or even make a note to buy it when next out or online. Does anyone, really?
It is rare that an advert should be so relevant to our current desires that we are justified in pursuing it at once. Adverts require us to spend money and we cannot afford to be frivolous, putting our trust into a product or service which we know has been beautified graphically over the course of many hours. We refuse to be manipulated in such a way!
But the real impact of advertising is subtle - the images and messages from the advert lie dormant in our subconscious until their relevance. If an advert leaves us with a feeling of positivity about the brand, it is this that we will recall when faced with a choice between several, rather than any specific advertisement content.
Dove’s campaigns for instance, I have found to be emotionally relatable on a personal level and profoundly intelligent from a marketing perspective. This increases my respect for and recognition of the brand. This advertisement shows several women being drawn by a sketch artist based firstly on their own description and then other on people’s, forcing them to reconsider the accuracy of their self-perception. The advert didn’t even sell a product. It sold the brand by articulating its principles, thus gaining consumer trust. Their beauty patch campaign has recently gone viral, sparking a debate over whether Dove/Unilever are simply out to boost their brand rather than actually caring about women’s confidence, and about whether the lack of suspicion regarding the placebo in place portrays the women as, well, a bit silly. But the critics are only adding to their own disdain - talking about the brand and thus increasing its air time.
We like talking about things that other people are talking about, and we are influenced to like things that we see other people liking, because nothing gives us more confidence than numbers. And the potential consumer did like it - social media analysis found that 92% of users on Twitter and Facebook who responded to the campaign spoke positively, as they broadcast it in the most powerful way possible.
And so the brand is sold - initially as a video, evolving into a social media topic and, perhaps a few months down the line, in the form of a product, as you find yourself gravitating towards one brand over another - not necessarily knowing why, just knowing that it resonates the most with what you want.