Customers’ attention: online, TV, print, radio, and jingle all the way!
In a marketing board room, puny is the measure of instance that the phrases brand recall, engagement, and customer attention will not be mentioned. Indeed, in every crevice of marketing enclosure stationed around the globe, these words are a customary topic, a need, a centrifugal container of any marketing ideas. If one will enter every advertising meeting done simultaneously all over the world, the possibility of not hearing about these ideas is impossibility.
Advertisers strive to capture every consumer and customer’s attention. It can be through TV, print, or radio—anything. They always aim and attempt to engage. Why? Because that is the entire point of marketing. The product sellers compose their products according to what the people need and sell it to consumers, and again, according to and as answer to that need. But most of the time, advertisers do not just target those who need their products but also those who don’t, and as well as those who are not familiar with what they sell.
Sometimes, the aim is longevity. It is a bit deeper reason compared with mere selling, because it is about placing a brand and the entirety of one’s enterprise in consumer’s brain on an enduring way.
Customers’ attention, please: ads, brands, logos and all that jazz
And that is the reason why every marketer in every fissure and periphery of this world is dying and vying for customer attention. I wrote dying and vying—and this isn’t hyperbole. For instance, Coke and Pepsi. They both have the same market. They target little kids, youths, blue-collars, professionals, homosexuals, straight, me, you, our grandparents, our poor unwed aunts, the tired, those who are on a revel, the overjoyed, name it. Their TV ads both have same ideas and motif: they target community; they both aim to touch people’s lives with their heartfelt commercials, as if forgetting to drink even a tablespoonful of their fizzy, carbonated products is like missing your daily ascorbic acid tablet need. Their commercials are ridiculous—whether it be through print or animated media—but everyone has to admit that it is effective, in no means it is not effectual.
Add to it the ever-enduring logos. Logos have been standing as a sturdy reminder on top of every gaudy establishments, classy structures, never-ending highways, even beside untidy suburbs and polluted rural areas even before we were born and learnt to walk. Logos are paradoxically everywhere. They are not just on billboards as an accompaniment to the company’s name, but they are in the products too. Everywhere—they’re on the Web, on TV, on print, and ironically, on ehhm…human skin. Yes, I’ve seen several boxers with a Tecate logo tattooed on their body as part of the contract to being a “Tecate” sponsored star.
Our attention is purchasable and it has been brought for a price
Aside from paying not-so-famous and impoverished boxers to have their logo permanently imprinted on their burly and hefty builds, advertisers resort to extensive cash-burning just to have their name on ever consumer’s mind. From costly TV commercials to legal and dirty Internet techniques, they are willing to spend millions of cash just to buy our precious attentions. But they will do it in a very clandestine way. Believe me. They will immerse these techniques in the narratives of our daily lives, and will put it furtively as if it is part of our lives’ mundanities. And we can’t escape it.
Silent advertising and clandestine marketing
For now, let us just focus on a singular brand. Let’s take Coke again as an example, and let’s use “you” as the protagonist of this paradigm.
“Every day you walk to work. And every day you are surrounded by tall skyscrapers; you, appearing only as one of the million feverish ants (rushing inside the fast-paced environment called life) on their feet. Hanging on these skyscrapers’ wall are electronic billboards, and Coke’s silver-ish Loki Cola font on red expanse is here. But today, you think of having a subway ride since you’re clock says 7:15— usually walking to your 8 AM work takes an hour. You walk past a brochure guy— one of the million feverish ants, basically a human being like you— and he shoots a Christmas promo pamphlet from Levi’s on your old leather courier bag because you practically ignored him, since you’re in a hurry. Then you shortly take a pause because a grand Coca-Cola Christmas parade is on your way; your way to subway is blocked. Anyway, your office is just a station a way—basically less than a kilometre walk if you run or speed up your steps— and riding a cab isn’t an option since the road is blocked, and you are afraid that detours will just make you more late. You think of how impossible to reach your 8AM Punch-in, and you think of making it a bit late. It’s my first time to be late, so I think it’s fine, and my boss will surely understand, you mind says. So you decide to walk. While walking, you hear the famous—or infamous—Coca Cola Christmas tune, what is its exact title, you can’t tell. You turn left, and the Coke jingle gradually fades out from your ears, but you continue to whistle the tune—unconsciously. Now you feel a bit thirsty from walking, but the only establishment around you is a surplus TV store, since you are in entertainment and appliance alley of the city. On the TV screen, you see an old Coke commercial—the Grand Theft Auto-esque one— but you can’t hear a sound since the entire shop is walled by thick glasses, a thing that is common to all appliance shops. So you walk again, until you reached your office building, and then finally, your office chair. Thirstiness is out of your mind by this time, and you start doing your job: you take out your office things, your pen, papers, and USB. Then the Levi’s pamphlet comes out of your bag as you put your things out one by one, and it reminds you of thirst again. And why? Simply because of its color: red. It’s a red pamphlet, and it’s from Levis, but its redness, as well as the white font of Levi’s remind you of Coke and thirst. Whistling the Coke jingle, you saunter into the office pantry, drop some coins into the hollow INSERT COIN THING, and purchase a Coke. You drink the carbonated drink—nothing special, every man drinks any edible liquid when he gets thirsty. It is just that, in this case, the edible liquid is Coke.”
Customers’ attention online: SEO, SEM, SOM and all that selling
The thing is, aside from buying or optimizing thousands of keywords—the legal or illegal way, like how JCPenney did it last year, and aside from paying large media networks for a good airtime deal, advertisers and marketers plant their brands on our minds in a very clandestine way. They put their brands outside the realms “of advertising” and put it in our world as if it is not “advertising” at all. Silent advertising, clandestine marketing—call it whatever you like, they both mean the same thing. Today, even a kid who has not been gone to school can distinguish what is a Coke and what’s not from a throng of soda bottles. They know the difference between McDonald’s and Carl’s JR. They know how to differentiate Bratz from Barbie, Marvel to DC, lingerie to regular undies, even Walkmans to iPods. And by what means? Taste? Maybe. Company and product color? Psychologically speaking it is possible. But the real answer is exposure. Yes, since every human being—whether it be a kid or a grown-up like us—is exposed to brands that have been part of our daily lives. They are on TV, on comic book covers, magazine, building walls, radio, and billboards—everywhere. They are here as if their absence will lay an immense expanse of meaninglessness and absurdity in our lives. They exist as if they are just part of our lives, but the truth is, they are just selling.