Back when I first started to work in the advertising industry, we understood the power emotions played in creating campaigns that would become part of popular culture and actually motivate people into action; be that to buy something, support something or alter social or professional behaviour. We did it by tapping into their emotional response mechanisms.
It was a time when psychology and sociology influenced ideas and brands were creating effective and iconic campaigns that frequently bridged the gap between art and sales in such a way that they took on a cultural relevancy that brands today, simply aren’t achieving.
People looked forward to the release of a new advertising campaign and friends would talk about their favourite ads in general conversation. Slogans became part of our everyday lexicon and brands actually achieved a love status. As much as digital has a place in youth culture, I’ve never once came home to find one of the children having printed out their favourite banner ad and stuck it on their wall.
However – the emotional purge perpetrated during the digital revolution saw many advertisers sacrifice this human connection between brand and consumer with the result that the media channels themselves have grown to become more important than the brands that are paying to advertise on them. People have stopped crafting brand stories and simply started to churn out emotionless content to fix little boxes on a little grid with little hope of any real engagement.
With many of the world’s most popular social media and search engines now being called out over manipulating their results, the question that many digital advertisers are having to ask is – just how effective is digital and have they been getting the results they were told they were?
For what it’s worth, my view is that digital can be genuinely effective, but brands need to be creating campaigns that people want to be exposed to in the first place and not just force fed. You can’t just bombard people in the hope of wearing them down. We need to create emotional connections with people again – be that making them happy, angry, sad or hopeful about a situation, product or service. When people feel, they act. Apathy is not an option. View digital as one of the many tools at your disposal and not the only one.
As mentioned earlier this week in one of our other posts, two of the most noteworthy campaigns of the past year were rooted in tangible experience that people could see and touch. They elicited real human emotions.
So whilst it might pain some of the digital evangelists out there to admit, we did know a thing or two about brand engagement pre www.