If adverts were in more relevant places, they’d be more effective, says Alex Smith of Sense
We’re all familiar with the idea that the world is oversaturated with messages. Advertising seems to be everywhere, always trying to butt-in. “What,” we cry, “doesn’t have a brand tastelessly plastered over it these days?”
Well, actually, pretty much everything.
I’m sitting in a coffee shop as I write and looking around I see tables, chairs, plants, lights, crockery, windows, floorboards, toilets, people, clothes, tills, mirrors, and so on – none of which perform any kind of advertising purpose. They just basically are what they are.
The same thing is happening out on the street. Cars, doorways, rubbish bins, lampposts, trees, bike racks, street sweepers, benches – these are not advertising, they’re just things, doing their job. Useful things.
It seems that nothing that’s actually useful does an advertising job, only useless things like poster sites, flyers, guys wearing sandwich boards. Isn’t that a bit weird?
Now of course, people can try sticking ads onto stuff – any flat surface is fair game apparently – but that’s just creating a parasite, not actually converting that thing into advertising. What we should be looking at is the communication potential of the actual objects, and of the jobs that they’re fulfilling.
Success by association
Say that Kit-Kat was able to take responsibility for public seating across a city. More comfortable designs, consideration of locations with good views, convenience, sun aspect, better maintenance, etc – basically becoming the public bench lobby. This would chime quite nicely with its ‘take a break’ proposition, and hey presto a bunch of Kit-Kat ads cease to be, replaced by multi-tasking everyday objects, doing their functional job with a bit of subtle communication on top.