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Cillit crash, bang wallop, what an advert!.

Cillit crash, bang wallop, what an advert!

If the shouting of the front-man in the television commercial for Cillit Bang cleaner irritates you, you are not alone. That, and the equally loud advert for Safestyle double glazing, was among the most annoying adverts of 2007 in an Internet poll. Also high on the list were Injurylawyers4u and Picture the Loan.

While many find these and other advertisements annoying, they can also be effective. Tiltman (Marketing, 9 Jan 2008) reveals that consumers are often irritated by commercials containing catchy tunes, reworked songs or overbearing presenters, but this irritation can help to make the adverts memorable. For direct-response advertisements, memorability is an important goal because it can help to prompt action and therefore generate sales.

While few adverts set out deliberately to irritate the consumer, many do aim to amuse. Two Carling lager commercials (one involving a polar night out and the other a cloning laboratory) plus the kidnapping of Santa, as depicted by eBay, were voted in internet polls to be among the funniest adverts of 2007. Humour is among the most potent tools available to advertisers, but it can also offend, and advertisers have historically been concerned about this risk.

Research by Beard (Journal of Marketing Communications, Feb 2008) reveals that they may have been over-cautious. The potential for an intentionally humorous advertisement to offend seems to differ little from a non-humorous one, according to analysis of 300 complaints reported by the New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority over four years. According to Beard, audiences are most likely to be offended by an advertisement that presents an offensive theme, whether or not intentional humour is used.

While the advertising world has traditionally focused on mass media like TV, print and radio, there is increasing evidence that in-store marketing holds the key to success for many fast-moving consumer goods. Staines (Admap, Jan 2008) explains that most shoppers have no idea of the brand they will buy before walking into a store. According to Procter & Gamble, it is during the 3-7 seconds after the shopper first encounters a product on the shelf that marketers have the best chance of converting him or her into a buyer.

This underlines the importance of point-of-purchase displays, in-store advertising and other in-store promotional tactics in appealing to shoppers’ senses, values and emotions. The trick, says our reviewer, is to understand how consumers negotiate a wholly individual journey from awareness to purchase and then, by optimizing the moment of truth, directly to influence the sales opportunity.

According to Staines, a number of brands are switching their marketing budget to support moments of truth. Copywriters will have to become slicker (how many words can a person actually read in 3-7 seconds?) while point-of-purchase suppliers will have to support the new marketing emphasis.

Haggas (Marketing Week, 20 Dec 2007) believes that point-of-purchase suppliers will have to change from basic manufacturers to deliverers of a retail experience that fully takes account of the way consumers make their decisions. Parker (Marketing Week, 24 Jan 2008), meanwhile, reports that the trade association for the retail-marketing industry, POPAI UK & Ireland, is offering new measures of effectiveness of different types of point-of-purchase marketing, which analyse the complete shopping journey so that brands can log which displays have been noticed.

It seems that, for advertising-agency executives, installing and monitoring in-store displays are about to assume much greater importance than before.