Friday, March 30, 2012

The ad as a person.

        Remember Jay Gatsby, the sensitive young guy who lived in a mansion on Long Island and idolized wealth? Here's how F. Scott Fitzgerald described him:

        "He had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced, or seemed to face, the whole external world for an instant and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself."

         Who could resist such a person? No wonder he was played by Robert Redford in the movie. This is also the description of a potentially great salesperson --- and the attitudes good advertising should project.

          Advertising should concentrate on the customer, nothing else and nobody else. It should reassure her she's not alone, and should show how the product can support her in achieving her goals. And it should do it in a clear, human way. Maybe she wants to make her day more satisfying, her home more comfortable, her kids more well-rounded. Maybe she needs help in getting more time for herself, or looking younger if that's what she wants, or keeping her car another year, or stretching her budget.

          The marketer should know these things, and the advertising agency should enable the marketer to communicate his truth.

          Fitzgerald said Gatsby created his own identity, his own branding we might say, to achieve his goals. That's what every marketer and agency must do. Out of the hundred things you can say about a company or its products, what are the most important to the customer? How can we make them believable? How can we help her remember them?

          You may not like Jay Gatsby. I never have. And I'm certainly not suggesting you be like him.

           But he does have certain qualities that you can learn from and put to good use in the ads and promotions you create.

           And he does throw great parties.

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