The types of advertising

In a recent blog post, Seth Godin described the two types of advertising.

“Two kinds, it turns out: Brand ads and direct ads. Brand ads are the unmeasurable, widely seen ads you generally think of when you think of an ad. A billboard, a TV commercial, an imprinted mug. Direct ads, on the other hand, are action-oriented and measurable. Infomercials, mail order catalogs and many sorts of digital media are considered direct marketing.

It takes guts to be a brand marketer.

What’s the return on a $75,000 investment of a full-page ad in the New Yorker?

What’s the yield on a three-million dollar Super Bowl commercial?

We have no idea. Brand marketers don’t do math. They pay attention to the culture instead.

On the other hand, it takes math to be a direct marketer.

What’s the yield on this classified ad? How many people used that discount code? How many clicks did we get?”

This concept of brand and direct ads has been expanded by Shelly Palmer (pictured above) who divides direct ads into two different camps:

“When asked about the “future of advertising,” I am always struck by the lay notion that there is a single thing called “advertising.” There isn’t. There are at least three different general categories of advertising: call to action, direct response and brand/lifestyle.

“Call to action” advertising does what it says; it calls you to perform an action sometime in the future. Examples include: “We’re having a Columbus Day sales this weekend, come to our store and get 25% off!” Or, “Star Trek: Into Darkness premieres this coming Thursday.” There is nothing you can do to respond, you just have to remember and act on the upcoming date.

“Direct response” advertising is considered by many to be the lowest, basest form of advertising — mostly, because it is often used to sell substandard products through infomercials, and magazine subscriptions through “win a prize” junk mail schemes. That said, the important attribute of direct response advertising is that the consumer can instantly respond to the offer using whatever technology happens to be available: Phone call, SMS, Internet, etc.

“Brand/Lifestyle” advertising is used to emotionally communicate brand attributes or qualities to consumers with no specific call to action or response asked for – it’s just a creative message that enlightens, informs and entertains. The goal of Brand/Lifestyle advertising is to make consumers aware of brand attributes and lifestyle enhancements offered by the advertiser. Examples include: Nike, Coca-Cola, Promise, etc.”

Hey. I’m Alex Murrell. I'm a Planner at Epoch Design in Bristol where I help deliver highly creative, innovative and effective pack, instore and online communications for some of the world’s biggest FMCG brands. Want to know more? You can find me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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