Recent studies further question the effectiveness of traditional advertising for reaching organizational goals. If this the death knell for traditional advertising?
Models and Celebrities Not Performing
Maybe we all suspected this, and the Dove “Campaign for Real Beauty” underscored our discontent, but skinny models DON’T sell product.
Researchers at Warwick Business School found evidence dispelling advertiser’s beliefs that skinny models sell because consumers aspire to be like those slim women they see wearing the advertiser’s clothes, drinking the advertiser’s water, or driving the advertiser’s car. Instead, Dr. Anson finds viewers feel scorn for the model as a means to cope with their own imperfections. And, these negative feelings transfer to the product, making the brand less desirable. The same is true of attractive celebrities — they just don’t sell product.
While prior research produced mixed results regarding the effectiveness of attractive models/ celebrities in advertising, the Warwick study was unequivocal — and may explain prior results. The researchers found attractive model/ celebrity images produced negative brand image when used as the primary image, the effect of attractive models/ celebrities used subtly in the advertising had a positive impact on brand image. As traditional advertising relies heavily on such models. celebrities to sell their brand, the effectiveness of traditional advertising is poor.
Product placement not performing
The other nexus of traditional advertising, product placement, isn’t fairing much better. According the Dr. Tom, of Cal State, product placement’s heyday is long over. Product placement, the art of placing brand images in favorable positions in TV and movies, is losing its effectiveness from overuse. In Skyfall, the new James Bond movie, for instance, much of the production cost was underwritten by brands through product placement. They even replaced James Bond’s ubiquitous Vodka Martini with Heineken — almost a sacrilege — to the tune of $45 million!
Dr. Tom argues product placement was effective when introduced because it was novel — for instance the Reece’s Pieces in ET. Today’s consumers, according to Dr. Tom, are more sophisticated and their decision-making more conscious. The effectiveness of traditional advertising tools, such as product placement, will continue to diminish, says Dr. Tom.
And, product placement can backfire. When Denzel Washington became intoxicated by drinking too many Budweisers in Flight, Budweiser felt the negative effects — even though the product placement was unauthorized.
Don’t think the death of traditional advertising means an automatic win for social media — the massive celebration by my social media colleagues is premature. That’s because many of these social media “gurus” remain trapped in the paradigm of traditional advertising and their social media marketing efforts look just like traditional advertising only they use social media as a channel for their brand messaging. I’ve worked with clients who went ballistic when they saw me posting content that didn’t directly mention their brand — insanity.
The effectiveness of social media marketing relies on a different paradigm than traditional advertising — one where the brand builds a community with its target audience. The brand authentically builds trust and rewards its community, which encourages the community to support the brand through repeat purchases and recommendations to the consumer’s network.
I don’t spend time promoting myself or my company on my social networks. I create valuable content and hope to attract visitors and clients who appreciate my insights. For instance, I’m giving away the first chapter of my social media analytics book to anyone who wants it and I’m promising the entire ebook to anyone willing to give me comments or edits for the book — you can get it here. I’ll likely do this with other chapters of the book once they’re ready for outsiders to read.
You give something valuable away and your community supports you in exchange. This paradigm is very different from that used in traditional advertising — where the brand talks about itself and doesn’t consider its community at all.
Wanna make your marketing more successful — start listening and stop talking.