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An advertising strategy is a campaign developed to communicate ideas about products and services to potential consumers in the hopes of convincing them to buy those products and services (William 1985). This strategy, when built in a rational and intelligent manner, will reflect other business considerations (overall budget, brand recognition efforts) and objectives (public image enhancement, market share growth) as well. As Portable MBA in Marketing authors Alexander Hiam and Charles D. Schewe stated, a business's advertising strategy "determines the character of the company's public face." Even though a small business has limited capital and is unable to devote as much money to advertising as a large corporation, it can still develop a highly effective advertising campaign. The key is creative and flexible planning, based on an in-depth knowledge of the target consumer and the avenues that can be utilized to reach that consumer. Some of the most commonly used advertising strategies are;
1. Ideal Kids
The kids in commercials are often a little older and a little more perfect than the target audience of the ad . They are, in other words, role models for what the advertiser wants children in the target audience to think they want to be like. A commercial that is targeting eight year-olds, for instance, will show 11 or 12 year-old models playing with an eight year old's toy.
2. Heart Strings
Commercials often create an emotional ambience that draws you into the advertisement and makes you feel good. The McDonald's commercials featuring father and daughter eating out together, or the AT&T Reach Out and Touch Someone ads are good examples. We are more attracted by products that make us feel good.
3. Amazing Toys
Many toy commercials show their toys in life-like fashion, doing incredible things. Airplanes do loop-the-loops and cars do wheelies, dolls cry and spring-loaded missiles hit gorillas dead in the chest. This would be fine if the toys really did these things.
4. Life-like Settings
Barbie struts her stuff on the beach with waves crashing in the background, space aliens fly through dark outer space and all-terrain vehicles leap over rivers and trenches. The rocks, dirt, sand and water don't come with the toys, however.
5. Sounds Good
Music and other sound effects add to the excitement of commercials. Sound can make toys seem more life-like or less life-like, as in a music video. Either way, they help set the mood advertisers want.
6. Cute Celebrities
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sell pizza. Spuds McKenzie sells beer. "Joe Cool" camel sells cigarettes. All of these are ways of helping children identify with products either now or for the future.
7. Selective Editing
Selective editing is used in all commercials, but especially in commercials for athletic toys like frisbees or footballs. Commercials show only brilliant catches and perfect throws. Unfortunately, that's not the way most children experience these toys.
8. Family Fun
"This is something the whole family can do together!" or "This is something Mom will be glad to buy for you." Many commercials show parents enjoying their children's fun as if the toy will bring more family togetherness.
Watch the expressions on children's faces. Never a dull moment, never boring. "This toy is the most fun since fried bananas!" they seem to say. How can your child help thinking the toy's great?
10. Star Power
Sports heroes, movie stars, and teenage heart throbs tell our children what to eat and what to wear. Children listen, not realizing that the star is paid handsomely for the endorsement.
The following are some of the most commonly used communication strategies (Monipally 2001);
Focus on what you know.
Describe your own feelings rather than evaluating others. Express yourself in terms of information, observations, and specific issues, rather than making assumptions about other people or situations.
Focus on the issue, not the person.
Try not to take everything personally, and similarly, express your own needs and opinions in terms of the job at hand. Solve problems rather than attempt to control others. For example, rather than criticizing a co-worker’s personality, express your concerns in terms of how to get the job done more smoothly in the future.
Be genuine rather than manipulative.
Be yourself, honestly and openly. Be honest with yourself, and focus on working well with the people around you, and acting with integrity.
Empathize rather than remain detached.
Although professional relationships entail some boundaries when it comes to interaction with colleagues, it is important to demonstrate sensitivity, and to really care about the people you work with. If you don’t care about them, it will be difficult for them to care about you when it comes to working together.
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Be flexible towards others.
Allow for other points of view, and be open to other ways of doing things. Diversity brings creativity and innovation.
Value yourself and your own experiences.
Be firm about your own rights and needs. Undervaluing yourself encourages others to undervalue you, too. Offer your ideas and expect to be treated well.
Present yourself as an equal rather than a superior.
Even when you are in a position of authority, focus on what you and the other person each have to offer and contribute to the job or issue.
Use confirming responses.
Respond to other in ways that acknowledge their experiences. Thank them for their input. Confirm their right to their feelings, even if you disagree. Ask questions, express positive feeling; and provide positive feedback when you can.
Be consistent between verbal and non-verbal cues.
Non-verbal cues tend to be more convincing than verbal messages. For example, if you are expressing a serious concern to someone, do not grin broadly while discussing it, or the listener may not know whether to take you seriously or not.
Human advertisement is where human bodies are used in advertising. A common term used to refer to the same is Human billboard. A human billboard is someone who applies an advertisement on his or her person (Ellen 1990). Most commonly, it involves holding or wearing a sign of some sort, but also may include wearing advertising as clothing or in extreme cases, having advertising tattooed on the body.
Sign holders are known as human directionals in the advertising industry, or colloquially as sign walkers, sign wavers, or sign twirlers. Frequently, they will spin or dance with the promotional sign in order to attract attention. Human directionals are commonly used in areas that have a lot of pedestrian traffic. The modern human directional employs a number of tricks to attract attention, such as spinning the sign on one finger, throwing it up in the air and spinning it, or even riding the sign like a horse.
However, the use of such attention-grabbing tricks has been criticized by city officials in the United States as being distracting to drivers and as a result, a number of cities have banned sign twirling.
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Demand for human directionals has significantly increased since the introduction of sign-twirling techniques. In temperate and warm locations, sign holders can be employed year-round and their effectiveness has been amply demonstrated. Sign wavers are also commonly used in the U.S. for Halloween stores, which are only temporary and relocate each year, and thus do not have permanent store signs, nor time to gradually build a customer base by word of mouth, or by being shown on web mapping services. These human billboards often wear a Halloween costumes supplied by the store.
The following are some ways of carrying out human advertisement;
Advertising on clothing has also long been used, with T-shirts being extremely popular. The newest trend is to have moving pictures on clothing. Most of the times the clothing goes for free but other times, like for football clubs , the clothing goes at a fee.
This is the use of permanent marks on the body to convey a message. The first time it was used was in 2003. People charge a price to have their bodies tattooed for the purpose of advertising. Big companies like Toyota use this method
INTERNATIONAL RULES OF ADVERTISING
Recently EU has come up with new rules governing advertisement. They include;
There are 4 key elements in the new Directive:
A General Clause: A far reaching general clause defining practices which are unfair and therefore prohibited
Misleading Practices (Actions and Omissions) and Aggressive Practices - the two main categories of unfair commercial practices - are defined in detail.
Safeguards for vulnerable consumers: The Directive contains provisions that aim at preventing exploitation of vulnerable consumers
Black List: An extensive black list of practices which are banned in all circumstances.
The "Dirty Dozen" – the Black list
A black list sets out over 30 schemes that are in all circumstances considered unfair. It includes a "dirty dozen" of schemes which are well known to cause consumer detriment:
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1. Bait advertising: Lures the consumer into buying from a company by advertising a product at a very low price without having a reasonable stock available.
2. Fake "Free" offers: Falsely creating the impression of free offers by describing a product as "gratis", "free", "without charge" or similar if the consumer has to pay anything other than the unavoidable cost of responding to the commercial practice and collecting or paying for delivery of the item.
3. Direct exhortations to children to buy advertised products "Go buy the book now" or to persuade their parents or other adults "pester power" to buy advertised products for them. Direct exhortation to children is banned for television; the black list extends it to all media, most importantly to internet advertising.
4. False claims about curative capacity - from allergies to hair loss to weight loss.
5. Advertorials: Using editorial content in the media to promote a product where a trader has paid for the promotion without making that clear.
6. Pyramid schemes: A pyramid promotional scheme where compensation is derived primarily from the introduction of other consumers into the scheme rather than from the sale or consumption of products.
7. Prize Winning: Creating the false impression that the consumer has won a prize when there is no prize or taking action to claiming the prize is subject to the consumer paying money or incurring a cost.
8. Misleading impression of consumers’ rights: Presenting rights given to consumers in law as a distinctive feature of the trader's.
9. Limited offers: Falsely stating that a product will only be available for a very limited time to deprive consumers of sufficient opportunity to make an informed choice.
10. Language of after-sales service: Undertaking to provide after-sales service to consumers and making such service available only in another language without clearly disclosing before the consumer is committed to the transaction.
11. Inertia Selling: Demanding immediate or deferred payment for or the return or safekeeping of products supplied by the trader, but not solicited by the consumer.
12. Europe-wide guarantees creating the false impression that after-sales service in relation to a product is available in a Member State other than the one in which the product is sold.
"Free" should mean free.
This is whereby it is required that if an advertisement states that a particular product is free, there should be no hidden charges to the consumer.
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