Getting Your Message Heard in a Noisy World. Linda Kaplan Thaler,
Robin Koval, Delia Marshall. Doubleday. 256 pages
here or on the cover image to purchase this book.)
published on Monday, October 27, 2003 in The Miami Herald.
Hey you! Pay attention!
If only it were that easy. For advertising, the challenge is attracting
eyes, ears and imaginations to inspire purchases. But in a world
of competing messages, cutting through the clutter is nearly impossible.
Now more than ever we are inured to most advertising, yet somehow
ads do get through to their target audience and are effective. They
are remembered, discussed, and even move merchandise. How is this
There have been a number of recent books advising marketers in these
endeavors, including Seth Godin's Purple Cow and Mark Stevens' Your
Marketing Sucks, but it has always been tough creating ads that
work. It's harder now, since customers' time and attention is severely
diffused and limited.
Advertising executives Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, aided
by writer Delia Marshall, contribute a bright, breezy, but deadly
serious guide to creating a buzz -- and a bang. They possess more
credibility than many other authors; their agency is responsible
for some of the most impressive, high-impact ads seen in recent
years: Clairol's Herbal Essence Shampoo, AFLAC Insurance, Toys R
Us, the Red Cross and more.
And how does one make effective ads?
They write: ``According to The Economist magazine, people see over
3,000 messages each day but, like cooked spaghetti, only a couple
of them stick to the wall. As a result, no one is sitting on the
edge of his or her seat waiting to hear what you have to say. You
need to disrupt the established paradigm to get through. Edward
De Bono, the father of lateral thinking, noted that problem solving
involves abandoning accepted, logical thought processes and rearranging
and reevaluating the status quo. You must forget about what makes
sense and open yourself up to the real reason why a particular brand
or product is appealing. Great, explosive marketing or advertising
ideas will only rise to the surface when everyone at the company
is able to reject what worked in the past and embrace this kind
of counterintuitive thinking.''
In other words, emotion beats logic, and a product or service's
true ''Unique Selling Proposition'' is often counter to what the
company thinks it is. The smart solution is not always the obvious
one (and it's sometimes the dumbest one imaginable).
This is not entirely new; advertising guru David Ogilvy would surely
agree with much of what they say. Rather, Thaler and Koval adapt
many of the strongest, most basic principles of marketing and promotion
to modern media realities and aesthetics, and they provide plenty
of anecdotes and examples to make the journey a pleasant one.
Can you apply their approach specifically to your business? Perhaps,
but even if you can't, their freewheeling and challenging notions
will surely stimulate your own thoughts, and you may come up with
your own marketing eruption.
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