Monday, September 9, 2019

Use Creative Ads to Avoid Benefits Overload

Enthusiastic advertisers may want to say so many good things about an item that they could easily overload the viewers of the ad. Researchers based at Appalachian State University and University of Massachusetts find that upping the creativity of the ad can help. However, this technique works only when the item being advertised is viewed by consumers as being hedonic fun rather than strictly functional.
     In the experiments, the number of benefits claims in an ad ranged from three to twelve. The ads designed to be more creative used visual puns such as a coffee cup having an on-off switch added and the “L” in an ad for an airline being replaced with an image of an open suitcase.
     When the coffee or airline travel was described to the study participants as serving a utilitarian purpose, a creative ad interfered with the ability to evaluate a larger number of claims. The respondents liked the ad less. But when the purpose of consuming the coffee or taking a flight was hedonic, creativity in the ad led to more positive impressions with the larger number of benefits.
     The explanation for this is that, when purchase motivation is hedonic, shoppers take decision making shortcuts rather than analyzing each benefits statement. They get a global impression based on more benefits being better, and they then turn to evaluating other aspects of the ad, such as creativity. The advice from all this for marketers is to load your ad with benefits statements when you succeed in making the ad creative and you’re selling the item for its hedonic appeal.
     University of Cologne studies provided five ways to assess how creative your ad is:
  • Originality. How different is the ad from other ads about similar consumption choices which are available to the consumer? 
  • Flexibility. To what degree does the ad shift from one idea to another? 
  • Elaboration. In the ad, how many different details are presented at the same time? 
  • Synthesis. How well does the ad conceptually join together divergent ideas and details? 
  • Artistic value. How well does the ad use words, music, sounds, colors, and/or images to produce aesthetic pleasure? 
     Of these five, elaboration and artistic value had the largest relative impact on moving consumers beyond remembering an ad to actually deciding where to spend their money. Although originality on its own was not particularly effective, the most powerful two-dimension combination was originality plus elaboration.

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