Campaign UK

Change ads or risk being ignored, brands warned

- By Gemma Charles

Vulnerable consumers are more likely to assume that advertisin­g is not relevant to them and require campaigns developed specifical­ly to combat their tendency to block out marketing, a new report by Smart Energy GB has warned.

The report comes as marketers and agencies’ knowledge of their customers comes under scrutiny following the shock Brexit vote and Donald Trump election victory in the US.

Smart Energy GB, which is charged with rolling out smart meters across Britain, has made a series of recommenda­tions for targeting hard-toreach groups.

The report states that vulnerable audiences are less likely to regard public engagement campaigns as relevant to them when they do not seem to be “reaching out to them as an individual” and are more likely to be resistant to behaviour change.

“There is sometimes a correlatio­n between groups which have not yet engaged with a campaign by taking action and vulnerabil­ities,” it adds.

The report suggests adopting “specific visual styles and text which explicitly address the audience in question”.

Using metaphor and analogy as a cultural shorthand were cautioned against. “Aligning visual imagery and messaging in a clear and literal way can be key to ensuring vulnerable audiences are willing (and able) to pay attention,” the report states.

Campaigns featuring celebritie­s and experts tend not to resonate with vulnerable groups. The report instead recommends establishi­ng “selected marketing partnershi­ps” with thirdsecto­r and voluntary organisati­ons.

Vulnerable audiences mentioned in the report include non-english speakers, disabled people, older people, the unemployed and low-earners.

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