Advertising works because you advertise

I wrote this with one hand while rocking my 12 day old son to sleep at 4am. After a week of this I thought I’d try multitasking. However please forgive any sleepy typos.

I’m noticing more and more new random fashion brands, on my socials, selling designer leisurewear for the WFH age.

Obviously it’s a category I’ve started being more interested in in these quarantimes.

Many of them have typically start up, easy to buy dot com names, with vowels missing such as DFTSPPLY or EHCT. Some of the products look great but the increasing number of them with similar inventory made me distrustful that they’re just dodgy drop shipping store fronts selling low quality products.

Then I saw an ad on TV for one of them. And now suddenly I trust one of them and I might buy what they sell. Now why is this?

It’s a subtle subconscious effect known as sunk cost bias. Economists tell us that consumers are always making decisions to maximise their utility (I.e. maximise enjoyment versus cost) but in a time poor and unequally informed world, we just want to buy the least shit item we can find.

It’s why Maccas and Subway do so well. They’re consistently not terrible.

When a company buys TV ads it’s a subconscious signal that they have sunk money into a long term future.

In the same way that you wouldn’t buy an engagement ring if all you wanted was a one night stand, it’s a long term commitment to the future.

By advertising is expensive and by its nature you generally don’t recoup your spend straight away. You need long term customer satisfaction, word of mouth and repeat purchase.

If you’re crap you may get the quick sale but you’ve lost any long term trust.

Let’s say you’re after a TV but like most people you can’t afford a top of the range Sony. You just want the best least crap option. The Chinese brand Hisense is considered to be one of the better midrange brands. But when they first launched in Australia no one had heard of them. So what did they do? They sponsored one of the main sports arenas used for the Australian Tennis Open, for ten years.

This is something you do to not only help with brand awareness, but when you’re liking through TV’s you subconsciously trust the brand. Even though you know little about it you know it’s probably not rubbish… as it’s a massive waste of their investment… their sunk cost.

Advertising is a commitment device.

It shows that you’re there for the long haul, not just a quick win. As it’s not worth the spend to rip people off as you’ve ruined any chance of a long term relationship.

Even with currently reduced ad rates it’s safe to say it’s still expensive to run a campaign on TV.

So, advertising can work just by the nature of advertising. Which kinda means that sometimes, it might not matter how fresh or original your ads are, so long as the brand noticed and remembered.

Professional thinker. I’ve been a director of art, writer of copy, designer of experience, juggler of statistics & researcher of insights.

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