The Australian Small Business Blog

Friday, October 24, 2008

Does Advertising Work?

There has been a lot of controversy about the latest ads from the Australian Tourism Commission by Baz Luhrmann which many commentators say won’t work. These are ads that tie in with Luhrmann’s new film Australia. The general comment is that these fairly depressing ads won’t work, compared with the exciting ads by the NZ Tourism Commission which do appear to work. They are just too arty and self indulgent to actually attract any US tourists to Australia.

I would also suggest that Luhrmann has put one over the Tourism Commission. Think about it. Luhrmann is releasing a film in the US and he has effectively got the Australian taxpayer to pay for cross promotion of his film in a very expensive market place.

Nice. Where do I apply?

The Australian Tourism Commission has form in producing ads that please the Australian film critics, who would be the last people I would call for advertising advice since most the Australian films they praise bomb at the box office. The key in creating advertisements is not whether you like it, or your friends like it, it is whether it causes people in your target market to buy your products and services. That is the only test that matters.

Some critics of this campaign hark back to the wonderful days of the Paul Hogan promotions in the US. (I think Hoges must have been the first to cotton on to the scam of getting the taxpayer to promote his films which I am sure many more saw than will see Luhrmann’s.) However, John Richardson, the former assistant general manager of the Australian Tourism Commission, says Hogan was useless as Luhrmann.

Australia had a salutary lesson with the Hogan campaign in the United States in the early 1980s. That campaign aroused enormous interest in America, awareness of Australia went sky-high and was still high a decade later. And in that decade the growth in tourism from the United States to Australia was the poorest of any of our major markets – by far. Almost all of the growth you referred to came from other markets, where the Hogan campaign was not shown.

Too often, ads are made to feed the vanity of the people who commission them, and also to promote the agency that produces them. Agencies like to win awards with their ads, so they can charge more. Getting pats on the back from your friends is not what you want, unless they are also your buyers, and certainly you aren’t in the business of producing promotion pieces for your advertising agencies.

Awareness of your products or services is only of value if it results in sales. If you can’t measure the sales impact, there probably isn’t any.

The most successful ads seldom win prizes, and for you, the advertiser, it’s not about you or your agency, it is about your buyer. If the ad does not appeal to them, you are wasting your money.

May Your Business Be – As You Plan It!

Dr Greg Chapman

Over to You. What do You Think? Post Your Comments Below.

Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and The Australian Business Coaching Club and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success.

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The Australian Small Business Blog

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

I think that often the advertising buyer is 'sold' on the concept by the passion of the agency or the art director (or film director).

But, while passion is good, it is not always guided by the principles of marketing and that is why many ads miss the target.

Advertising does work, when it's created and managed with discipline.


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