TV spots we love … to hate
Advertisers spend megmillions on big campaigns for products and services, coming up with new commercials that compete for viewers’ attention with all sorts of soft- or hard-sell gambits. What makes us love some of them—and love to hate the rest? We asked around and got the lowdown from people on both sides of the “love-hate” dichotomy.
First, the turnoffs: Viewers hate it when ads are loud and in-your-face (and-ears). With so many spots screaming their urgent, hard-sell sales pitches in order to be heard over the cacophonous din, viewers have gotten inured to or intensely dislike the din itself, and have become very efficient at tuning or zoning it all out.
This opens wide the field for the less livid approach employed by more natural, relaxed and warmly emotional spots that boost products and services’ unique selling proposition or “hook” that make them stand out over everybody else.
It takes greater confidence and keen knowledge of psychology to opt for this less hectic approach, but the bond it forges between product and viewer is unusually strong and cost-effective.
Advertisers should also realize that viewers (and prospective buyers) hate it when they sense that their psychological strings are being pulled by clever ad people. So, all of the string-pulling has to be completely hidden from view, or else the viewer-puppet will refuse to “buy” the spot and the product it’s promoting. So, keep it natural, warm, personal, and felt, folks!
Some viewers say they eventually switch off when a spot, no matter how good, is aired too often, because it becomes both a nag and a bore.
But, some ad mavens disagree. In fact, in their view, the sheer repetitiveness creates a veritable atmosphere of “ultra-awareness,” as the spot’s message incessantly permeates the air and creeps into the viewer-buyer’s subconscious.
The hoped-for result is that the viewer ends up “automatically” buying the product—even if he can’t put his finger on why he’s doing so!
What about viewers’ complaints about nagging and over-repetition, to the point of distraction and even disgust? Ad people say that only a few viewers feel that strongly about the situation, so the “incessant” telecast strategy is still the most productive one to use.
For our part, we get turned off by the many ads that use children either as little salesmen or as on-cam “pleaders” for parents to buy the product being advertised (whom advertisers hope the children at home will slavishly copy.) We feel that the prevalent industry practice makes kids too materialistic, greedy and acquisitive at much too early an age!
Other viewers hate it when ads promote products that patently promise much more than they actually deliver.
Also criticized are “fantasy” commercials that are even more unrealistic and far-out in their promises of products’ “magical” effectivity.
Don’t the government and the advertising industry have groups that are supposed to vet and nix such obvious excesses?
It’s time for them to do their work!