Playing to the audience
When I met with Dani Richa, who will be crowned Advertising Man of the Year at the Dubai Lynx, he said the ad industry is like a comedian now. Not because people are laughing at it, but because of the way it treats its audience.
Before, it was a cinema, casting out a preprepared, finely honed message to its audience, no matter how full the cinema was or who was sat in the seats.
But now it checks out its audience before it has even got on stage, and it tailors its act to them, playing for laughs and following themes that get the most engagement, while dropping material that isn’t getting a good reaction.
Shortly before our interview, I attended a talk given by Serviceplan about psychographic targeting. Instead of pigeonholing people according to their demographics ( 35- 45, male, unmarried, middle- management) we can now talk to them according to their motivations, drivers, attitudes and values.
Factoring this insight into the creation of ads should help campaigns connect better, as it gets the messaging closer to what makes each consumer tick. Or, more to the point, what makes them buy.
And you can create numerous executions of the same ad, depending on whether it is being shown to someone who is ambitious, cautious, family oriented or cost conscious, for example.
Richa says that technology, rather than liberating creative and media agencies from one another, is bringing them closer together as they share the data behind ad performance to allow them to respond fast and flexibly to data.
One Australian car sales site ( cunningly called Carsales.com) has just taken this to extremes, allowing sellers to build their own ads using voice and video clips to offer a total of 1.2 trillion possible unique ads.
This is a little extreme, but I predict seeing it pick up some metal this year.
Of course we won’t see the ads when it does, only the case study video.
It’s not long since ad shows were a roll call of print campaigns and TVCs for all to watch, but as ads become more tailored, the videos juries must peruse are now more likely to show the concept than the ad itself.
And as ads become more and more tailored, those that are shown are more a platonic ideal than that ad any consumer would actually see.
I wonder how long it will be before we don’t see any ads at awards shows, only the big ideas behind them.
How will that play with the audience?