The Attitude Problem

Many advertising and marketing people have a mistaken belief that attitude change causes behaviour change.

But when it comes to consumer products and services, getting people to feel positively about your brand does not mean they’ll then buy your product.

This notion is not only mistaken, it’s leading to increasing amounts of vacuous advertising – bland and egocentric ‘brand films’, or brainless dancing baby or cute animal ads that do nothing but waste money and patronise customers.

Those advertising folk and marketers obsessed  with the idea of people ‘loving’ their brand need to realise that the most successful way to get someone to love your brand is to get them to buy and use your product or service.

That’s because, in reality, behaviour change comes before attitude change – people like the brands they use.

That means to make most effective use of your advertising, you should stop trying to get people to like your brand, and use it instead to bring people closer to choosing your product.
“We don’t get them to try our product by convincing them to love our brand. We get them to love our brand  by convincing them to try our product.” Bob Hoffman.

Our new book ‘How To Make Better Advertising and Advertising Better – The Manifesto for a New Creative Revolution’ – is available exclusively at the Design Museum.

I've Told You A Million Times... Stop Exaggerating*

Many advertising and marketing people have unrealistic notions of how people relate to brands.

Some believe their brand is different to other brandspeople really do love it. Crazier still are those who expect people to fall in love with their brand before they’ve even bought or used their product.

This fashionable idea of ‘brand love’ doesn’t reflect the real relationship that most people have with brands. Selecting most products and services is not a massive deal to most people, and certainly not a life-defining moment as sometimes depicted by deluded advertising agencies and ‘brand gurus’. The idea of ‘emotional relationships’ with brands driving buying behaviour has largely been proved to be a myth.
“Most of a brand’s customers think and care little about the brand, but the brand manager should care about these people because they represent most of the brand’s sales.” Professor Byron Sharp, How Brands Grow (Oxford University Press).
Even those customers who repeatedly buy from your brand most likely do so out of simple habit and the product delivering on their needs. Contrary to the moonshine widely peddled by many branding and advertising ‘experts’, it’s not because of some strong emotional bond.

When we exaggerate the role that the brand plays in people’s lives, it leads to self-important and phoney advertising. People are smart enough to realise this and know when they’re being patronised.

This is an excerpt from our new book ‘How To Make Better Advertising and Advertising Better – The Manifesto for a New Creative Revolution’ – available exclusively at the Design Museum.

*With apologies to The Young Ones 


“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act,” George Orwell.

Strong advertising needs to have truth at its heart. Ads are quite rightly regulated to make sure they are honest, but we live in a time when advertisers increasingly appear to be avoiding saying anything of real substance or worth, and this lack of any substance is in itself an act of deceit.

But people know when you’re trying to pull the wool over their eyes, and they can see when you’re using the old look at the cute animal trick.

Honest and truthful advertising stands out and hits home harder. Potential customers are far more likely to relate to what you’re saying when it has a point and is genuinely relevant to them (and there’s a chance it may become that rare advertising that people actually appreciate or find useful).

Clearly, it’s sometimes difficult to find worthwhile and truthful things to say about a product or brand, and it’s even harder to distil them into something pithy, memorable or entertaining.

Advertising people have got out of the habit or worse, in some cases, lack the ability or even the will to do it. They either give up too early or fail to even try in the first place. There isn’t anything worthwhile to say, so let’s just make a funny cat video and hope people like it... appears to be an increasingly common response.

The ability to seek out and distil honest and worthwhile things to communicate is extremely valuable.

In fact, it’s one of the most valuable skills that advertising agencies can bring to business.

Our new book ‘How To Make Better Advertising and Advertising Better – The Manifesto for a New Creative Revolution’ is available exclusively at the Design Museum.

I Was Avoiding It

This is why you have to love Private Eye (that and the fact that one of our Timothy Taylor's ads is in the back)...

chortle, etc...

What's In It For Them?

Sometimes it seems advertisers and marketers need to remind themselves that advertising isn't for them.

Advertising is for the customer.

It is they who ultimately determine whether advertising is good or not – in that they vote with their purses or wallets.

Advertising people and marketers have become too self-obsessed, too inward-looking, too focused on their advertising playing well and feeling good in the boardroom or among their peers.

This often ends up with advertising that is egotistical and centred around what people in the company would like to say about themselves.

The priority should really be how the advertising fares out in the real world.

That means making advertising less self-centred and concentrating more on what the customer will get out of it.

Less this is how we’d like you to think of us.

And more this is what’s in it for you.

Our new book ‘How To Make Better Advertising and Advertising Better – The Manifesto for a New Creative Revolution’ is available exclusively at the Design Museum.