5 – HOW TO RESIST ALL 12 TYPES OF COMMERCIALS
Donald Gunn was a creative director for advertising agency Leo Burnett. He determined a long time ago that there are but 12 kinds of advertisements. As Seth Stevenson writes on Slate.com, knowing the types (and figuring out which is being used) can be a challenge, a game, and a defensive weapon for consumers under assault from endless advertising messages. Here are the 12 basic formats:
1. The demo (a visual demonstration of the product’s capabilities).
2. Show the need or problem (and then the remedy or solution: the product being sold).
3. Symbol, analogy or exaggerated graphic (to demonstrate a problem or solution).
4. Comparison (the product is claimed as superior to competitors).
5. Exemplary story (weaves a narrative that helps illustrate the product’s benefits).
6. Benefit causes story (a trail of events caused by product’s benefit).
7. Tell it (credible testimonial by presenter or real person).
8. Ongoing characters and celebrities (to help cement a brand’s identity).
9. Symbol, analogy or exaggerated graphic (to demonstrate a benefit of the product).
10. Associated user imagery (showcases the type of people associated with the product).
11. Unique personality property (highlights product’s uniqueness).
12. Parody or borrowed format (parodies movies, TV shows, even other ads).
You might think the new advertising landscape would render Donald Gunn’s categories obsolete, but the theory holds up. Being equipped with this knowledge allows the target to resist. Or does it? Stevenson relates that one of his favorite advertisements – a parody of reality TV shows – has fooled him more than once. We may know how a magic trick is being done, but we still watch the magician.
Copyright FutureScan Aug 2007
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