Friday, 27 November 2015

The anatomy of Humbug Paul Feldwick 2015

An interesting book about the theories of advertising. I sometimes get the feeling that most theories and people are turned into strawfigures, but is it interesting just to see such an entertaining collection of thinking.

„The proposition is the strongest competitive promise on behalf of a product or service that can be made to the consumer in the terms of his own self interest. It must be truthful demonstrable and unique – clearly elevating the product or service over the competition.“ (Jeremy Bullmore quoting an old JWT manual in Feldwick, 2015, p.x).

“’What then’, Lasker asked later that evening, ‘is the secret of good salesmanship? What is it that actually makes people buy?’
‘That is too simple’, said the tall Canadian, drawing on his cigar. ‘You have to give them a reason why.” (Feldwick, 2015, p.35).

“According to Starch, advertising fulfils the following roles in the selling process:
-       it reduces sales resistance
-       it develops a readiness to accept a product
-       it creates desire or demand for the commodity.” (Feldwick, 2015, p.51).

“The addition of memory allows us conceptually to extend the AIDA selling model to situations where action cannot be taken immediately. (….) even when advertising does not lead to an immediate sale, it works in the same way – there is merely a time lag between conviction and action which memory must make good.” (Feldwick, 2015, p.51).

“there’s an easy way to beat that game. Instead of showing a big picture of the car, you show a big picture of Marilyn Monroe and a little picture of the car. If that doesn’t work, you take some clothes off her.” (Feldwick quoting Mayer, 2015, p.54).

Hopkins and the USP and that the consumer remembers just one thing: “He produced no real evidence for this claim – and I know of none myself to support it – but it has been so often repeated ever since that it now seems to be universally believed.” (Feldwick, 2015, p.61). “’The Man in the Hathaway Shirt’ became hugely successful, with his signature (never-explained) eye patch – so much so that future ads in the series dispensed with copy, and eventually even the brand name.” (Feldwick, 2015, p.92).

“But at the heart of Packard’s attack is a strand of truth which advertising folk themselves have often found uncomfortable – the fact that much advertising does indeed influence people’s behaviour in ways other than conscious, rational argument. If we accept this as a fact – and today it is increasingly hard not to – we may have to allow a debate about the ethical implications of it.” (Feldwick, 2015, p.83).

“Stephen King pointed out in 1965 that to separate style and content is an artificial exercise. A consumer responds to a message as a totality.” (Feldwick, 2015, p.98). “Attitudes may influence purchasing, but purchasing also influences attitudes.” (Feldwick, 2015, p.99).

“JWT planners were among the first to show that users’ experience of a product was significantly different when it was branded. Thus advertising helped create a real (subjective) value, from which brand buyers benefited.”  (Feldwick, 2015, p.102).

“’How ads work’ was a question which we therefore confronted on a case by case basis.” (Feldwick, 2015, p.105).

“Common sense tells us that the sun is smaller than the earth and moves around it. (…) science is only needed at all because common sense is so often wrong.” (Feldwick, 2015, p.120).

“When I go into a restaurant – and they bring me the bill – and it says at the bottom, Service is not included – (longish pause) – is that information, or persuasion?” (Feldwick quoting Bullmore, 2015, p.123).

“The idea, in lay terms, is that we are continually making mental connections between different perceptions and different experiences and for the most part we are doing this unconsciously. (…) We instantly and subconsciously make links between images and ideas, images and emotions, and the patterns of these are continually influencing the choices we make.” (Feldwick, 2015, p.129). “the principal way advertising influences buying behaviour is by making brands more salient, that is, more accessible in more consumers’ memory. Advertising is therefore, in a phrase they use ‘mere publicity’: the role of creativity is neither to persuafe nor to seduce, but merely to create images that are closely linked to the brand and which lodge in long term memory. In a powerful expression of Byron Sharp’s advertising does not create meaningful differentiation between brands but ‘meaningless distinctiveness’ (Feldwick, 2015, p.138).

 “One key finding is that brand size is almost entirely predictable form brand penetration in any given period: average weight of purchase varies very little by brand. (…) brands cannot grow without attracting more buyers.” (Feldwick, 2015, p.136). “different brands are bought by essentially the same kind of people.” (Feldwick, 2015, p.137).

 “the most powerful single force us fame. Simply making a brand more famous drives sales. (…) a strong correlation between a brand’s relative Share of Voice and its sales performance.” (Feldwick quoting Binet and Field, 2015, p.138). “effectively keeping your name before the public’ is a key factor for advertising success.” (Feldwick, 2015, p.138). “that people most value and are most attached to what they perceive others are valuing.” (Feldwick, 2015, p.139).

“I think you will find that the advertising is most easily understood as a series of gestures intended to create a relationship.” (Feldwick, 2015, p.147).

 “”humbug consists in putting on glittering appearances – outside show – novel expedients by which to suddenly arrest public attention, and attract the public eye and ear … An honest man who thus arrests public attention will be called a “humbug”, but he is not a swindler or an impostor.’” (Feldwick quoting Cook, 2015, p.158). “Humbug, as Barnum promotes it, is about shamelessly rigging the odds in your favour.” (Feldwick, 2015, p.159).

“All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift ot onto a higher level.” (Feldwick, 2015, p.162).

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