The Advert IS the Shop

The thing about attention is that grabbing it is one thing but keeping it is quite another. The thing about screens is that there are so many of them. Not only are screens in danger of competing with each other for our attention but they are in danger of competing with other things like pizza, beer and chocolate – it depends on your appetite.

Advertising is very good, if the advertising itself is very good, at grabbing our attention. Bad or badly executed advertising is really good at losing our attention. In some cases, bad and badly executed advertising will make us irritated and, literally, turn us off.

Good content, which could be defined as stuff we want to watch and/or interact with, is very good at keeping our attention. A combination of great advertising and great content is a compelling idea. To many, the perfect evening is watching those Very Good Adverts before the singing frogs come on and tell us to turn our phones off which means we can sit back and watch a really good movie in a dark cinema.

To many others, the perfect evening is watching a mixture of adverts and soaps while poking people on Facebook and texting other people to ask why they haven’t poked back.

To a whole mysterious community of people, the perfect evening (or afternoon) is wandering around shops not buying anything.

These perfect evenings are blurring and one day soon the perfect evening may look quite different.

You might watch an advert and suddenly the whole shop is in your living room. The advert will become the shop and the shopping experience. In the medium term this will come about through what articles like this call ‘the second screen’ which is a grown up way of saying that most of us fiddle with our smartphones or tablets while we watch TV. Apart from those of us who are poking people, this is generally to find out more about what we are watching on the TV and where we can get our hands on the cool stuff that James Bond is wearing, using or driving.

Nielsen did a survey about this and found that the combination of TV and mobile increases brand recall by 69 percent and purchase intent by 72 percent. That is a grown up way of saying ‘Grab the horses and women, there’s gold out west.’ The potential of this is absolutely astonishing.

Already, social things are merging with mobile stuff and in-app payments gizmos and dramatically enhancing the ‘TV’ experience. More in-depth, interactive content, games, competitions, prizes, coupons, augmented TV, hashtags in ads – it is all coming, or here.

An example from the excellent JWT Intelligence Report on all this describes how megastore Target leveraged the Grammies. Through a live app, they made behind-the-scenes content available, with Facebook and Twitter feeds, and links to their music store, which, when triggered by winners of various categories, special offers appeared on the winning singers and songs. This achieved an intuitive, social commerce experience that people actually liked and used – a lot.

Be in no doubt, the experience and how it is delivered is everything. Personalise stuff, by all means. Link it all together into a slick end-to-end shopping experience, please. Do not, however, simply use wholesale data and ‘target’ things at people. It is blunt and irritating and people’s attention is likely to be grabbed by the beer not the screen.



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About Alex Leslie 400 Articles
Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet.

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