Football coaches put together their offensive playbooks by evaluating their teams and scouting the competition. Do they have more speed than size? Are they strong at quarterback and weak at tailback? Do they have a big offensive line and some good running backs? Or perhaps they need to run a power offense and pound it between the tackles?
Likewise, advertisers have to design their offense based on their strengths and weaknesses versus the competition. Do they have real product news or do they have to sell on emotion? Who has more money to spend on media? Are they launching a new product? Are they an old or established second-tier brand? Are they a power
brand in the field? How these questions are answered determines the play of the creative.
One of the most important creative decisions to be made in the design of a television commercial is determining the right time to introduce the brand into the flow of the ad. Traditional advertising research methods, particularly those that measure day-after recall, recommend the “early and often” rule. Their research suggests that commercials that identify the brand name in the first five seconds of the ad score best.
Our experience in advertising research provides us with many examples of television commercials that generate high branding scores when the brand is introduced in the middle, when it is not identified until the end, or when it is introduced in the beginning of the ad. This suggests that the traditional advertising research conclusions to always introduce the brand in the opening few seconds of a commercial is based on too simplistic a view of the game.
What’s the best play for your brand?
This presentation-style advertising that leads off with the brand is a particularly effective play for launching a new product.
You open the ad by intentionally creating negative tension – you make your audience squirm, be engaged, get involved. At the right time, you introduce the brand as the hero – solving the problem, saving the day, coming to the rescue, and making the audience feel better. Established brands are veteran players ready for this big play!
In this type of advertising there is no role for negative emotion, nonetheless the structure represents a movement from one emotional place, a low positive, to another place, a higher positive or different, more intense emotion. Commercials that attempt to reposition established brands in an emotion space or those that communicate a “new and improved” message might be examples of this category of advertising.
The End Pass
Whether building emotion to a final reveal that shows the brand is the source, or revealing the brand at the end to comic effect, this structure holds the brand back until the end. Usually power brands have earned the right to do this kind of advertising
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