Thoughts from the 2011 Ad Trends Report

With the economy continuing to impact us all on a daily basis, we decided to look under the hood of the ad agency world to see how economic woes and budget cuts were impacting their usual way of doing business. In our exploration of interesting c...

With the economy continuing to impact us all on a daily basis, we decided to look under the hood of the ad agency world to see how economic woes and budget cuts were impacting their usual way of doing business.  In our exploration of interesting cost cutting measures, we unearthed a trend that piqued our interest.  It seems some clients are requesting that their agencies mine the archives and repurpose previously successful TV commercials.  While many of these commercials were hits when first aired, we wondered what type of impact they might have with viewers now, given that the ads ran many years ago.  Would they be received by viewers as a welcome “blast from the past”, or alternatively, “an irrelevant and dated intrusion”?

Using our online, dynamic, research platform, we conducted an Invoke LIVE! Session to speak to 200 consumers, ages 18 and over to understand how effective repurposed TV ads might be.  Our goals were simple:

  1. Understand what compels consumers to stop and watch.
  2. Understand what type of advantage (or disadvantage) ‘vintage’ ads might have.

We exposed them to three of the more memorable commercials that represented alternative approaches that advertisers take when repurposing past advertising efforts.  Three ads were chosen:

  • Wendy’s Tee Shirt –Which reintroduces Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” slogan with a new twist.
  • Excedrin Migraine –An existing ad first introduced by Excedrin several years ago.
  • Pepsi 2011—An ad approach that splices together previous Pepsi ads using music icons to create a new ad.

Several insights surfaced in the research (of course) which you can find in our summary report. In this blog post though, we present to you three of the more interesting and consistent findings.

  1.  The most impactful ads speak to the heart and mind.  Given the volume of messages competing for consumers’ attention, advertising that both entertains (heart) and is relevant (mind) has the greatest chance of getting on the radar and engaging viewers. Being informative, useful, or fun also helps.
  2. Optimism Wins!  A positive tone is more likely to make consumers willing to not only watch the ad the first time, but a number of times thereafter. Creating ads that contribute something to consumers’ lives, without distracting or annoying them is a proven path.
  3. “Retro is cool.”  Not only do consumers like the idea of marketers recycling past advertising campaigns, but they are more likely to watch these types of vintage ads as they remind viewers of “The good old days when times were simpler.”

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