Advertisers frequently make the mistake of putting out one ad, one time, and waiting to see what happens. If it works, they think, they’ll do it again. And, if it doesn’t, they won’t. The odds are very strong the ad won’t work because their ad strategy is, in effect, spitting into the wind. To understand why, let’s take the analogy a bit higher and drier. Let’s go kite flying.
Imagine your ad is a kite on a long string and you fly it once for 5 minutes. That’s a long time because the average ad is seen or heard for less than 30 seconds in broadcast, and under one minute in print. How many people do you think will have seen your kite and commented on it?
What if your kite stays up for hours on end? That’s called Frequency – meaning that you’re giving consumers several options for seeing your kite over time.
Finally, fly your kite on a crowded beach during the height of summer. That’s called Reach. You’re reaching thousands more people than if you flew the same gorgeous kite for the same amount of time in a desolate area.
Now, let’s assume your kite is a plain white kite. Even if it’s the only one in the sky, it may get overlooked as it blends with the clouds. It is not distinctive. In this case, it’s seen but not remembered and has no impact. Make your kite colorful, or extraordinarily designed, and it now stands out. That’s called getting noticed, the first key component in an increasingly cluttered competitive field.
But, what if you need your kite to be noticed during a windy day when everyone’s come out to fly kites? You might be better off having that plain white kite to set you apart from the sea of colorful kites. In design that’s a positive use of negative space, or differentiation.
The Walk-away: Ads that work let you successfully fight the battle for client attention and send your business soaring. But, as the Wright Brothers knew, flying successfully takes practice and planning. Advertising, like aerodynamics, is a science. Study the principles and you could be flying in no time like a trained pro.