The art of ad­ver­tis­ing

The Covington News - - OPINION -

I like ad­ver­tis­ing. I like it be­cause I find it in­ter­est­ing to watch how peo­ple re­spond to an ef­fort of an en­ter­prise to en­tice some­one to spend money with them.

I also like it be­cause ev­ery cou­ple of weeks the nice folks down the hall send me a check to pay me for what I do. All the ads in the news­pa­per help con­trib­ute to my liveli­hood. There­fore, I like them.

But I en­joy study­ing the way ad­ver­tis­ers shape their mes­sage to ap­peal to folks.

When I was a kid, there was a place in At­lanta called the Big Red Furniture Barn and they had a spokesman in a cow­boy hat named Cousin Jim.

Old Cuz’ would come on TV and an­nounce that if you bought a cer­tain amount of furniture, you could get a good used car or a pony for just nine cents.

Think about it, you could get a re­ally nice Nau­gahyde sofa, a chrome-trimmed dinette and a French pro­vin­cial bed­room suite. Then, hand the guy a dime and he’ll hand you the reins of a pony and a penny back.

Then there was Tim Tim­mers, who had a Chevro­let deal­er­ship. Look­ing back, I re­ally liked old Tim­be­cause he was to­tally hon­est about his mo­ti­va­tions.

Tim­would come on wear­ing a Hawai­ian shirt or an Asian-look­ing cos­tume and would tell the view­ers that if he sold just a few more cars, Chevro­let was go­ing to send him on a trip to some ex­otic des­ti­na­tion.

Now, it seems that the folks sell­ing furniture and cars have a fasttalk­ing an­nouncer with a boom­ing voice telling you about low pay­ments, no in­ter­est and that “all credit ap­pli­ca­tions will be ac­cepted.”

Ac­cepted? Yes. Ap­proved? Maybe not.

To­day, it seems that re­tail­ers have also be­come en­am­ored with the “One Day Sale,” which is pre­ceded by a preview day where ev­ery­thing is al­ready marked down. I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but isn’t that a two-day sale?

The other sale line I like is “Low­est Prices of the Sea­son.” Ev­ery sale is ei­ther the big­gest sale yet or the low­est prices ever.

Right now, I’m get­ting ready for my fa­vorite sale day of them all: The day af­ter Thanks­giv­ing.

As a jour­nal­ist, I par­tic­u­larly en­joy go­ing out and cap­tur­ing the story of peo­ple who will get up in the wee hours of Fri­day morn­ing to find that great bar­gain.

Com­pa­nies will fill news­pa­pers with ads pro­mot­ing their “doorbusters,” those su­per-duper bar­gains that are priced just low enough to get you through the door at 6 a.m.

The stores that don’t close, like Wal-Mart, will roll out the doorbusters at a pre­scribed time and you don’t want to stand in the way of a de­ter­mined shop­per and their prey.

I live near the out­let mall at Daw­sonville, which has started open­ing at mid­night. There are folks who don’t even go to bed and will drive from other parts of the state to find that elu­sive bar­gain.

I, too, am a de­ter­mined bar­gain­hunter and get that ge­net­i­cally from my mother. I’m con­tent to wait un­til af­ter Christ­mas when they take the re­ally big mark­downs.

I know that I’m not go­ing to need that life-size Santa for an­other year, but it’s 75 per­cent off.

I’m get­ting ready to un­pack my haul from last year. If you hear some­one laugh­ing and say­ing “I bought that?,” it’ll be me.

Har­ris Black­wood

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