In my opinion, there are two main types of advertising: emotion-based and fact-based. There are the ads that tug at your heartstrings until you compulsively spend money on whatever they want you to buy (think the Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercials), and there are the ads that spell out exactly why their company is better than the competitors (I think of the car commercials that throw every MPG, safety, warranty, and interest rate number possible at you).
Based on all the advertisements I’ve seen, I think most companies tend to use a combination of both of these types for a well-rounded campaign. The emotion is good for bonding with customers, and the facts are a good backup when potential customers need more concrete proof.
I do think, though, that companies in some industries can get away with more or less of each type depending on their customers and their competition. So I made a couple of spec ads to demonstrate what I mean by this.
This first spec ad is for Disney, a very well-established brand with millions of loyal customers. You’ll notice that in this ad I didn’t use many facts or much logic. I didn’t mention anything about price, and I also didn’t attempt to point out why Disney Parks are better than, say, Universal or Six Flags. I just relied on emotion in hopes that people will read this ad and think “Oh jeez, my kids are growing up so fast! I think we need a Disney vacation!” Because when parents are concerned about their children, I don’t think price plays as much of a role as their feelings.
I also think that Disney is a strong enough brand so that it can rely more on loyalty than straight facts. It doesn’t have to constantly try to beat down the competition, because quite a few of its customers choose Disney just because of the emotional connection they have with the brand.
Verizon, however, is a different story. I don’t think there are many people saying that Verizon has been in their family for generations, and they fondly remember their parents and grandparents letting them use their Verizon phones. There’s just not as much emotion and memories in the telecommunications industry.
The competition within this industry is also pretty stiff, with the biggest providers being nearly identical in terms of phones, service, and price. So with this ad I focused mostly on the facts so that customers and potential customers can clearly see the differences between the companies. I know that when I go phone shopping I don’t really care which brand I buy, I just want to know that it will work when I need it to and won’t break the bank. I have no emotional connection to any brand, and if someone else offered me a better deal I’d be quick to switch.
These ads aren’t to say, however, that each brand (and industry) should only stick to one type of advertising. I don’t think Disney should only use emotions to sell, and I also don’t think Verizon has to stick solely with the logical argument. In fact, I think it’s a good thing to change it up every once in a while to appeal to a wider audience. Not everyone likes the mushy stuff, just like some people think too many facts makes it harder to make a decision. But overall, in my opinion some industries are just more cut out to use certain types of advertising.