What You Didn’t Know You Subconsciously Knew About Advertising

Cheryl Catts

March 3, 2011

We should all have strong opinions about advertising.

I’m lucky enough to work in a business that is fun. It’s creative, and exciting and always evolving. What makes advertising particularly interesting to me is that it’s almost impossible to escape – for better or worse (on rare occasion).  So much marketing reaches us on a subconscious level that sometimes we’re not even sure why we feel a certain way about a product or brand, but then something crops up that makes us realize how deeply seeded those opinions are.

Take for example the Diet Coke campaign that has been floating around 1-15 corridor billboard rotations for the past few months. One of the headlines says, “What to drink on your way to the top.” It’s arrogant, assuming, and superficial. And I love it.

Diet Coke knows exactly who they are talking to here. They know their place in the market. And they know how to speak to them in a way that reinforces the brand persona that they have worked to establish over decades. Sure, there are probably people who are offended by these boards, but Diet Coke doesn’t care. Those people weren’t going to buy their drink anyway. They are too busy drinking 64 ounces of Mountain Dew.

We should all have strong opinions about advertising. It’s what we do. And there’s no excuse to not have an opinion. Sometimes when my boss and I are driving to and from meetings our conversations will be completely high jacked by something on a billboard or the radio. Of course we’re obnoxious about it with comments like, “What were they thinking putting so much copy on there!?” Or, “They definitely over-thought that campaign.” Or, “What a great location.” (followed by 10 or 15 minutes of why that location works for that particular client).

So pay attention. If you don’t have them already, form opinions about the advertising campaigns that are all around you. Like them, love them or hate them. But have an opinion. Because if advertisers didn’t take risk, we would be left with this:

So what campaigns have you noticed lately? What speaks to you? -Cheryl