Most advertising seems to make no sense.
That’s not a secret, we all know it, it’s all around us.
But we believe someone, somewhere must know what it means, so it must make some sort of sense.
It got sold, someone bought it.
It obviously made sense to the person that bought it.
And it must have been sold in logical steps.
So to make sense of the ads, all we have to do is reverse the process.
Just logically peel back the layers of the onion.
Step by step.
Then we can see what the original idea was that everyone thought the ads were delivering.
It’s a logical challenge, working something out.
Like working out a crossword clue.
So let’s take an example, a new campaign.
It’s for a supermarket and everyone is dancing in their kitchens.
So the first question is: why are they dancing in their kitchens?
No problem, it must be a metaphor.
Obviously the food won’t actually make you dance.
So the dancing is a metaphor for having fun.
Okay, why are they having fun?
Obviously this is for people who enjoy being in their kitchens, they enjoy food.
To them it’s fun.
So what does that have to do with the supermarket?
The answer is it’s another metaphor.
It’s a metaphor for the fact that this supermarket is known for good quality food.
So people who think food is fun will like this supermarket.
Of course we can’t just say that their quality is what makes them better than other supermarkets.
Not according to current thinking.
We have to show an insight.
And we have to show the way it contributes to the consumer’s life.
So we’re not just selling food, we’re selling fun.
Dancing is fun, so we’re selling a feeling that’s as much fun as dancing.
And now we can see the process by which this advertising was sold.
This supermarket is known for better quality food.
But that alone is boring, so how can we bring that to life?
We can say we make the kitchen fun, so we’re selling fun in the kitchen.
The metaphor for that is dance.
So if you want your kitchen to be fun, shop at our supermarket.
And we’ll film real people, dancing in their own kitchens.
And we’ll have a catchy track that people will want to download.
And now we’ve managed to deconstruct the ad.
We know what it means.
Unfortunately that’s only one ad.
Given that every ad all around us looks the same, they all have to be deconstructed the same way.
That’s a lot of work for a consumer watching TV.
You have to wonder if most ordinary people could be bothered.
Given that we’re each exposed to roughly 2,000 ads a day.
Between TV, laptops, smart-phones, cinema, radio, posters, OOH digital, newspapers, magazines, door drops, pre-rolls, banner ads, pop ups, facebook, twitter, bus cards, cross-track, taxis, and the rest of the advertising blizzard.
Yup, everyone gets 2,000 ads each, every day, thrown at them.
So do we really think we need to be making advertising that has to be worked out like crossword clues?
Or can we think of another job we should be doing?