Stop Advertising and Start Captivating: How to Better Target Your Audience

Now that 2018 is right around the corner, we are in a new age of digital advertising. Even the word ‘advertising’ sends a cringe-worthy chill up most people’s spines. A good example that comes to mind is that 30 second, unskippable video popping up telling you to buy car insurance when all you are trying to do is watch that new Kendrick Lamar video that’s setting Twitter ablaze. It seems like more and more websites contain pop-up ads that dominate an entire screen, which is even worse on mobile devices. This is what advertising looks like in modern times, especially for those in the millennial generation.

Is it just me, or do these new ads scream desperation? The unskippable ads and and online pop-ups only cause frustration for those of us trying to consume content faster and easier than ever before. One could argue that failed attempts at creating effective online ads are actually hurting a company’s brand.

So the questions remains- how do advertisers survive now that old age tactics are dying?

Engage.

No one likes the car salesmen “in your face” approach, and advertisers that do so are likely to be met with less website traffic and fewer sales. Creating engaging content is what advertisers and businesses need to do in order to stay afloat in the world of digital communications.

Take one of my favorites, The Most Interesting Man in the World for example. The beer company Dos Equis developed a clever commercial that took the advertising world by storm with a rugged older gentleman simply known as ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World.’ He was said to have achieved incredible things in his lifetime (if you’re familiar with the Chuck Norris jokes that preceded him, you’ll know where the inspiration came from) , with some hilarious one-liners being created in every commercial such as, “mosquitos refuse to bit him purely out of respect,” “his two cents is worth $37 in change,” and “if he were to pat you on the back, you would list it on your resume.” He would then end each commercial endorsing Dos Equis beer, which is a genius and highly effective marketing tactic, because it held people’s attention.

The internet immediately fell in love with this advertising campaign. He quickly became a meme, which is the holy grail for advertisers, and the company saw an increase in sales soon after the commercials were first aired. The key to this campaign’s success was its engagement to its audience. Customers enjoyed the commercial’s quirkiness. It was entertaining. Its humor related to a younger crowd, and many people within that demographic shared it across social media, increasing its reach even more. Perhaps the most impressive thing for me, was how it connected the humorous juxtaposition with the brand itself, without coming across as too sales focused.
Now that Generation Z is beginning to make a larger online presence, advertisers must take into consideration that this means more people who simply despise ads. Though it will always change throughout time, effective advertising campaigns must look at the bigger picture and try and get their audience to want to buy their products rather than just hit the skip button as soon as it comes up. Stay on top of the demographic shifts your target audience is into, and think about making something you would engage with yourself, if you came across it. A great ad is one that sticks with the customer, making them not only a viewer, but a fan.

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