Ever heard of editorial layouts? It’s not exactly the first thing most advertisers think about when choosing an advertising agency, yet this was how Ogilvy & Mather approached most projects back in the day.
Ogilvy said advertorials (as we know them today) were read more times than creative ads (or ‘addy ads’ as he called them), and added that they had more success with them than any other (just because someone takes the time to read an ad doesn’t automatically mean it sells more of course).
Take a look at what’s going on in online advertising today and advertorials are more powerful than ever (although mainstream and traditional global companies have yet to catch on).
The point of advertorials was simple – do away with the 7 touch point model altogether. Instead, try and incorporate the whole AIDA thing into one single touch point. The idea being it would save a lot of advertising dollars (and bring quicker returns).
Did it work? Yes and no. Just like everything else, it was unpredictable (apart from the “1 in 10” model that applied to the film industry – only 1 in 10 films becoming super profitable).
But every now and then a home run was hit (think James Bond or Marvel franchise) and a series of ads would work. The advertising agency that hit that streak would push it like crazy so the whole world heard about it – and Ogilvy & Mather were no different (hence element 37).
The caveat (and there was always a caveat) can be seen in the way this element was worded. It doesn’t promise the world, in fact it doesn’t guarantee any success at all. It just says more words get higher readership.
Today we combine more words by using funnels. An ‘addy ad’ to bring people in (eg. the image part of an FB advertorial description), followed by at least one advertorial style landing page (trying to pretend it’s not ‘salesy’), followed by a drip campaign (email, sms notifications, etc.).
And so we get back to square one. The seven touch points (or 14, 21, or whatever it takes to get attention). Nothing much has changed. Finding a hungry audience is (and has always been) the key.