Reeves pointed out that to work, advertising had to be honest. He insisted the product being sold actually be superior, and argued that no amount of advertising could move inferior goods. He also disagreed that advertising was able to create demand where it did not exist. Successful advertising for a flawed product would only increase the number of people who tried the product and became dissatisfied with it. If advertising is effective enough and a product flawed enough, the advertising will accelerate the destruction of the brand. Similarly, Reeves believed it was a waste of money to claim uniqueness that doesn’t exist, because consumers will soon find out, and they won’t come back to the brand. This is important because historically fortunes are made from repeat business. Money would be better spent building some kind of meaningful advantage into a product before launching a costly advertising campaign to promote it.
Reeves advised clients to be wary of brand image advertising which is less likely to be successful than his claim-based strategy. This is because when communication relies on an image, the claim is not articulated. An image can almost always be interpreted different ways, many if not most of which won’t do a product any good. The message that a viewer takes away from an image is often very different than what the advertiser had intended.
Or to put it another way: practically every product has a number of benefits that might be claimed. Commonly one of the benefits is more popular than the others, even more popular than the others combined. Therefore, it’s imperative to do everything to make people understand the most important benefit, to achieve credibility and to avoid distractions. The aim is to have as high a percentage of people as possible take out of an advertisement what the advertiser intends to put into it. This is most likely to be achieved if a claim is articulated and proven with credible evidence—in a brief commercial, some kind of dramatic demonstration.
From the Wikipedia entry for Rosser Reeves, former advertising executive and one of the inspirations for Mad Men’s Don Draper.
This description of his technique (not sourced, for what that’s worth), is fascinating to me. It goes on to describe Reeves’ decline due to consumers becoming increasingly savvy and rendering his methods obsolete.
I would argue that these methods never become obsolete if properly executed. I believe that as competition increased in many product verticals and the unique selling proposition (the ‘it’ factor that makes a product better than its competitors) dwindled, it became more difficult to build these campaigns.
The success of Apple, whether you love or hate them, in a prime example of these methods in action.
Tony: In all my times as a cop, I've never gotten to, like, chase a guy across a crowded city square. I've never... I've never hung on to that part of a helicopter. You know that part? Underneath the thing that it lands? Do you, do you know that part?
Police Chief: Yes, I know that part.
1 A Summer of Freedom
2 A Babysitter?
3 The Babysitter’s Dead
4 A FAST Food Experience
5 From Burger Grease to Executive Elite
6 What a Drag
7 Monday Madness
8 Petty Cash?
9 I Hate This Part
10 The Dishes Are Done Man!
11 Gus and Rose
12 Bouncing: An Ageless Pastime
13 From Bad to Worse
14 I Should Have Been There
15 You Have Spent Over $3,000.00!
16 Don’t Give Up Now
17 Are You with Me?
18 The Presentation Party
19 Mom’s Home!
20 A Lot to Learn
21 End Credits
I was in San Diego all week for work and got some great photos. I showed a couple of my Instagrams to some colleagues at dinner and they asked about the process. I think Instagram and the scenery do most of the work for you but here is an example of my method:
1. Enable the HDR feature on your iPhone (not sure if Android phones have this option). Two photos will be saved to your camera roll each time you take one. The first is regular and the second is the HDR version. Note that I use the camera app (or an equivalent) and do not take my photos with the Instagram app.
2. Take a great photo. My example is sunset at the beach in Del Mar. Here is my HDR (taken with an iPhone 4S) before any manipulation:
3. The rest of the steps are pretty easy in Instagram but still worth explaining:
4. Here is my finished product:
Some might argue that the Instagram version looks worse than the original. They might be right. It’s just a matter of taste.