How many of you actually watch adverts?


The invention of Sky Plus (up there with the wheel and Cadbury’s Crème Eggs in our opinion) not only means “you’ll never miss your favourite show” it also means you never have to watch an advert again, if you so choose.

We still see television adverts, but it’s generally only for about five seconds, before we either change the channel, or fast forward if we are watching something pre-recorded.

Advertisers therefore have to grab our attention instantly, no matter which frame of the advert we happen to come across.

There are two main ways to do this: either to excite us, or to tug on our heartstrings.

The first school of thought can be represented by the flashy images of shiny new gadgets, you know, anything by Apple. Its all about how ‘new’ something is.

The second is the opposite; it’s either reassuring you with an established product, or harking back to a by-gone age. And it’s increasingly prevalent. As the world around us continues to depress us (cheers Cameron and co!) we seek reassurance, anywhere we can find it.

Psychiatrists often tell us to ‘do something we loved as a child’ to combat stress or depression, the idea being that a childhood activity such as going on a swing, for example, will take us back to a time when we were carefree, making us feel better.

The same is true of advertising. Seeing an advert we remember from our childhood immediately takes us back, making the product being sold incredibly attractive.

This works particularly well with confectionery – we aren’t the target market, but we can purchase something inexpensive to transport us back to our childhood, without going too far and buying a Barbie or a miniature monster truck!

By our very nature we are nostalgic creatures, we treasure our memories and are very susceptible to associating products with those happy memories. Yup folks, it’s just another kind of manipulation, but it is chocolate coated manipulation, so that’s ok!

The Milky Way ‘red car and the blue car’ advert, originally shown in 1989, was very marginally tweaked and was back on our screens in 2009, We’re fairly sure it’s still being shown.

And it doesn’t stop there. There is no bigger childhood event than Christmas, and the advertising geniuses at Coca Cola have been rewrapping the perfect Christmas and serving it back to us for years, literally making our mouths water with  sumptuous visions of ‘the holiday season’ featuring their perfectly pitched retro Santa.

In November 2007, Coca Cola  reissued their ‘Holidays are Coming’ advert, allegedly in response to being inundated with phone calls from consumers telling them it ‘marked the beginning of Christmas’. There was also, inevitably, a Facebook group dedicated to this phenomenon. The ‘Holidays are Coming’ advert has been shown, in some form, every year since.

Now that’s advertising power!

The other benefit of this practice is monetary. If you are re-using an advert, you automatically eliminate the costs of producing a completely new one.

While Mars and Coca Cola, literally two of the biggest (and richest) brands in the world don’t need to penny pinch, cutting costs while boosting sales is always going to be a winning strategy. We get to be children again for a few minutes, and they make millions from us in the process. All together now, “The red car and the blue car had a race…”

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