Tuesday, July 29, 2008

International Buy Nothing Day

I've been itching to have my first go at critiquing and advertisement and many people have been helpful with having quite a few options. However in the spirit of the Gruen Transfer I figured why not do a Gruen ad. More importantly the ads that are shown in 'The Pitch'.

For those of you who are unaware of what the Pitch is, is is a part of the ABC television show that shares a name with this blog where two marketing corporations go head to head to promote something a little outside the norm. For the episode airing the 23rd of July, the challenge was to promote International Buy Nothing Day. Without further ado I'll move onto the entries.

Entry 1 by Brain Surgery

Now before I get started I'd like to point out that it is apparent that both of these ads are designed to entertain as opposed to directly promote something. In that respect they can't directly be compared to normal advertisements. This is most predominant in the fact that swearing is allowed. I'm sure a few of you remember the adverts for panty liners that recently aired and caused a huge uproar because it featured a beaver as an analogy for the god forbidden V word which is not allowed to be acknowledged as even existing. However I shall not delve further into that, since that ad in itself is one that probably deserves its own post. My point however is that ads by nature must be very tame.

As an ad I am actually impressed with this one for the most part. It has a powerful build up in the sense that it is one of those ads that pulls you in and makes you think 'What could this possibly be for?'. This is a very effective inclusion in an ad because it makes the audience pay attention because it has built up this suspense of what is coming and by nature humans are curious. Even though the ad was announced that it would be for International buy nothing day I still had no idea what was coming up when I first watched and because of that I am impressed.

However while humourous I do disagree with the need for swearing. Whilst it is not out of the rules, I personally prefer if you're trying to make an ad for something to actually follow the rules of advertisements and acknowledge the things that if it were a real ad, what would be pulled off.

One major bad thing I do have to say though is that the connection between the scene and the 'International Buy nothing Day' theme was not established enough. There was just some link missing after such a wonderful buildup. Therefore the ad them seems to be broken down to two parts which is simply funny bit and then separately a small ad tagline while your attention is still kept from viewing the earlier funny bit. This method works, however is less effective because consumers are less susceptable to messages that are obviously direct advertising.

To fix this problem I would have recommended putting in a tagline such as 'Too Much Stimulation?' thus relating the final part to the initial bit. Personally I believe that may have well been the underlying message but with advertising bluntness can often pay off.

Now onto entry 2 by The Cavalry

I found this ad to be less impressive overall. On last weeks Gruen they actually pointed out that these ads are overall somewhat effective for the small outlay of money that they require but overall don't do much from a marketing perspective. All it does is simply yell messages at you hoping you will absorb them like a sponge. Seeing an ad like this on TV can often be annoying, however this one has the annoying element masked on the grounds there is humour used. But even the humour wears this since it is basically beating the same idea for as many short snippets as they can. It works on a first watching, however if you were to see this ad multiple times, as you would if it were on TV, the humour would wear out and you'd be left with your basic yelling advert.

That being said I don't have just bad things to say about this ad. I think they had a brilliant interpretation. Marketing works best when you think outside the box and they reinterpreteded 'buy nothing' quite succesfully. I just think perhaps they could have gone about it better.

The panel of judges ended up voting 2v2 so on the show these two ads met a stalemate and therefore there was no victor. However the Gruen Transfer has an option on their website to vote for the advertisements themselves and have your own say. Personally my view is that the first ad was the superior one because it caught the consumers attention and therefore brought the consumer to the information they desired to get out while the second ad simply shot all the information it had at you and hoped you absorbed enough to get the message.

Now that's my wrap of the two advertisements in this weeks 'The Pitch'. For those of you wishing to catch the Gruen Transfer, this week is its final week. It airs at 9PM on the ABC on Wednesday nights. This week should see the announcement of who has won consumers revenge, which is where viewers of the show had the change to make their own ads for Gruen Beer, Gruen Beauty and Gruen Bank. Depending on how this turns out I may just try to critiquie those ads as well. Anyway thankyou for the read and I hope you gained some knowledge or got some enjoyment out of this.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Beginning

Welcome to the Gruen Transfer. I created this blog in order to further my marketing knowledge by attempting on a weekly basis to analyze an advertisement I have found and try and break down on what levels it does and does not work.

Now I'm sure the obvious point here is 'Isn't the show on the ABC with the same name doing the exact same thing except that they know what they're doing?'. Well...yes. However in the process of coming up with a name there was simply nothing I could come up with that would be as suiting as the Gruen Transfer. Now one thing I'm sure few of you are aware of is what the Gruen Transfer actually means. It isn't just the name for a show it is actually a marketing term. Here's a wikipedia exert that I find to describe it best.

In shopping mall design, the Gruen transfer refers to the moment when consumers respond to “scripted disorientation” cues in the environment. It is named for Austrian architect Victor Gruen (who disavowed such manipulative techniques) and lately popularized by Douglas Rushkoff.

Now for those of you who don't exactly understand what this all means the basic jist is that when shopping and all of a sudden you move from your initial purpose, eg. Buying only bread, and move into considering other products, eg. Chocolate that has been placed on the end of an isle. This sudden snap into impulse buying as created by your surroundings is the Gruen Transfer.

For a site critiquing advertisements I believe this term is a perfect name since advertisements are so intertwined with this process. A perfect example of this would be chocolate advertisements. A chocolate advert may make you desire for chocolate, however in reality very few people will see a chocolate advert and head out however far it requires in order to obtain it. The true value is in when you head out for a staple good such as bread and then notice the chocolate and, for the most part subconsciously, remember just how much you wanted chocolate after viewing the advert and then consider purchasing it as to satisfy that desire.

Now one of the most important things about critiquing marketing is that it is completely subjective. One person may say something does not work for one reason and then the next may say it works for exactly that reason. The main point I have created this is to further my knowledge and the best way to do that is to get comments myself. There is nothing that would make me happier than seeing a 'But have you considered this?'

Anyway I hope you all see some merit to all of this and hope that overall everyone has something to gain from this blog. Now in order to start critiquing ads first of all I will need ads to analyze. I could just go picking whichever ones catch my eye however I would much rather be critiquing those that you all find puzzling so as to be aiding others. So if any of you have any advertising campaings you would like to see critiqued then simply add a comment to say so or email me.

Thankyou for your time and I hope you gained something from this.