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Your advertising message needs to be in front of as many people as possible. But reaching out to everyone is cost prohibitive.
The art of advertising effectively is to segment the population and find out what your ideal customer looks like so you can pay just to be in front of them. If it cost a dollar to reach out to one person, it would cost $310,000,000 to reach everyone in the United States – once.
Whatever you sell, that probably isn’t going to be effective. Coca-Cola doesn’t reach out to people once. (They are one of few companies that reach out to everyone, though. You can do that when you had revenue of $31 billion in 2009.)
Once you have segmented your market, you need to spread the word. But you might be disappointed that one of the modern “laws” of marketing is wrong: Sex doesn’t sell.
Oh, sure sex sells itself. A sexy movie would have sexy advertisements. Same for violence. It sells a summer blockbuster. But for people that sell normal products and services, sex and violence aren’t very effective for attracting and retaining customers.
In 2005, a University of Michigan study told why “sex sells” is upside down. Advertisers love shows like CSI, Sex in the City, or 24 because they bring in younger viewers. But when viewers are enthralled with the sex or violence (or both) of a TV show, they couldn’t remember the TV advertisements shown at the regular commercial breaks. This was true of both genders and every age demographic.
I suppose this doesn’t specifically talk about sexy or violent commercials. But can a commercial really compete with 24? And if a commercial based on ‘sex sells’ was bought on a show that appeals to young families, they would be as likely to generate boycotts as sales.
If customers don’t remember your message you wasted your advertising money. Don’t fall for lazy advertising that tries to sell with sex or violence. Find authentic ways to reach your customers and have a compelling story they will remember.