Of the more popular kids’ puzzles is ‘connecting the dots’ to draw a picture. As grown-up marketing communication practitioners, we are taught the same. Connect the dots of context, medium, purpose, target, occasion, relevance, etc., and craft the right piece of advertising.
Given that almost all publications are now digital, how can a marketer and advertiser craft a more memorable piece of communication for the ‘consumers’? Studying the advertisements in the last three Autocar issues, here are five simple ways of connecting the dots better.
What’s the theme?
Being digital allows one to be more ‘recent’, so it is always a good idea to check if the issue has a special theme or subject; like Autocar India’s 250th issue in June 2020, which was used so well by a two-wheeler brand by communicating about its 250cc offerings. Special issues, marking events or milestones, become collectibles. It always helps crafting communication around an event or milestone to ensure greater relevance and memorability.
…so why on earth would you have a double-spread ad in the first place?! If you have the money to spend, adapt the format accordingly, to ensure no ‘gutters’ and split images. They end up looking very silly, as the visual message is not delivered effectively. Make use of QR codes and weblinks to connect with the consumer beyond the issue. The medium offers you that added advantage, at the same price!
Why would you have a horizontal full-page ad in a publication with a vertical layout? Unless, of course, you believe in neck exercises while reading! Some of the biggest brands make this fundamental mistake. Pure laziness, I believe, in not adapting it for the publication. Your communication becomes a blind spot and you waste precious marketing money!
The target is clear
Autocar readers want to spend some time in the world of automotive technology and razzmatazz. So, even if you are the world’s biggest bank, they will not salivate over your MSME credit scheme. Or if you are an engine oil brand, be amazed at your product packaging. Quite inappropriate!
The two things most of automobile advertising lacks is a sense of humour and candour. The ability to smile, at oneself and the world around you, is an extremely powerful communication tool. The ability to be frank and forthright about yourself than just pompous claims is appreciated more. In these depressing and anxious times, we need more communication that makes us relax and smile more than ever. Give it a try, and you will see better brand recall and empathy.
Little things go a long way in nurturing a brand. With care. With respect. With pride. Even if it’s a single-page ad in an automobile magazine!