Buying Advertising Like Luxury Products

When you buy an expensive watch that is priced hundreds of times more than a regular watch, it’s clear that your objective is not to know what time it is. Especially with digital watches, the cheapest digital watch, also on your phone, is more accurate than the best mechanical watch. But we still buy them. That doesn’t diminish their status as luxury products, in fact I think it increases their value as such.

Because people know that you don’t have that watch for timekeeping reasons, it is clear to everyone that it is purely a fashion statement, however you want to express that; quality, brand, story behind it, special edition, etc. It’s like owning a rare work of art that doesn’t have much practical utility but has enormous psychological value.

I have a problem when marketers buy advertising the same way we buy luxury products. When they book ads for the image it generates in the advertising community and to make a statement about the brand just to get them awards or case studies. Many times I hear extremely fluffy claims about how placing an ad in a certain placement is going to create a great effect. It’s usually how they think other marketers will perceive their ads, which is usually something completely different from how people view them. Testing some creatives across different placements can easily uncover many things that can be completely contrary to conventional wisdom.

Advertising has a function and it serves to leave an impression or send a message to the intended audience, eventually ending up in improving the sales of the business. It is not an art, although an artistic touch and creativity are needed to create messages that resonate with people and achieve the business objectives.