07. 30. 2015 Blog

Catering to an Audience: How to Advertise Effectively

As the ever-increasing presence of the Internet age looms over content creators, consumers continue to serve as advertiser’s biggest critics.

The digitalization of the world has mandated that ads be relevant for the print, online and mobile platforms, requiring agencies to develop content that is capable of reaching audiences across the board while being particularly successful in a brand or product’s target platform. While things like decreased sales make this difficult in print media and ad blockers significantly hinder an advertisement’s message in the online realm, proper advertisement logistics go a long way in creating a lasting impression on users, rendering the content effective in all spheres.

In order to captivate an audience and compel users to purchase products, advertisements must capture the user’s attention while interacting with their habits and preferences. The mobile marketing sphere is particularly suited for gaining this type of knowledge, as user profiling and data mining, though sometimes controversial due to privacy concerns, is perfect for identifying and catering to a user’s preferences. The most efficient advertisements are those that are interesting and relatable to buyers while coming across as both authentic and knowledgeable, leading a consumer to believe that he or she is interested in a product without feeling manipulated by the ad itself. Several entities, both national and international, successfully use advertising across a wide range of platforms to market their brand and/or product in a genuine yet persuasive manner.


Last year, Aerie—a lingerie and apparel branch of the US-based clothing manufacturer American Eagle—launched its “aerie Real” campaign. The “Untouched Ads” movement reshaped the company’s marketing technique, completely eliminating the use of Photoshop and retouching in ads as well as introducing models that adequately represent the many shapes and sizes of the American youth. The photos, primarily used in Aerie stores, catalogs and online were wildly successful, with Aerie officials citing sales increases of nine percent in just one year.


This example, immeasurably beneficial and likely marketable in a variety of world markets, perfectly exemplifies the need of advertisers to pinpoint the target audience’s preferences and relate to it on an individual level. The subgroup of the popular clothing company, while being relatively new, is desiring, and coming close, to rivaling big-name brands in the same industry such as Victoria’s Secret, indicating the importance of listening to one’s audience and exhibiting this in the distributed ad material.


Yet another example is that of Dove in the German market. While also a global campaign, the hygiene company launched the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty beginning in 2004, and has since adapted it twice to cater to the desires of its audience. Initially as a response to the 2004 findings that only two percent of women worldwide would describe themselves as beautiful, the Real Beauty Campaign and aerie Real have extremely similar goals, desiring to market to a broad base of women to encourage self-esteem and advocate for a better body image. The overarching purpose, “to debunk the stereotype that only thin is beautiful,” was primarily marketed through print materials and television commercials, successfully catering to audiences on two different platforms.


The revolutionary campaign alone increased the number of women who used the term beautiful to describe themselves by two percent in just six years, displaying the effectiveness of attentive advertising despite the utilized platform.


Though the most commonly-preferred platforms seem to be those aforementioned, these are certainly not the only viable methods of advertising. Recently in the Netherlands, record-high temperatures encouraged McDonalds to take to the streets, advertising the brand through a current issue affecting nearly every individual in the country. Using an interactive approach, McDonalds formulated a glass, temperature-gaging structure that held within it roughly 100 empty McFlurry cups. When the temperature outside topped that of the record, the device opened and passers were able to take an empty cup to the nearest McDonalds and redeem a free McFlurry.


While drastically different from that of the previous examples and outside stereotypical advertising confines, the tactic employed by the global fast-food chain emphasizes the success of gauging an audience’s needs and responding effectively to them. The play on a recent, domestic issue increased conversation surrounding the chain while positively reinforcing public image, which largely contributes to the success of a brand.


Despite the difficulty involved in creating content that doesn’t prompt viewers to flip to the next page or download ad blocking software, attentiveness to an audience’s inclinations favors the creation of ad material that will be received. Though recent platform shifts and declines have made it more difficult than ever to effectively market to consumers, every platform is still a viable option. Whether it’s via direct feedback or through measures taken to ensure the content isn’t viewed, audiences always communicate with the advertisement industry. The preferences of a subgroup are expressed despite the medium of transmission, and success, like those listed above, are sure to come to those who take the time to listen.