Out With The Old, In With The Weird

Making Consumer Connections that Stick

May 19, 2021
With a seemingly endless uptick in media traffic, sometimes going outside of your brand comfort zone may lead to better traction.

Advertisements are all around us — everytime we visit a website, look at our phone or watch TV. According to Ryan Holmes, the Co-Founder of Hootsuite, we are now seeing upwards of 5,000 ads per day

Why the vast number? Research on consumer behavior toward ads is inherently negative, and we’ve grown increasingly skilled at tuning them out due to their intrusive nature; advertisers have responded by saturating the market with more and more content to combat this trend. 

Another factor contributing to the amount of ads we see daily is that the average attention span of humans (when seeing these ads) is seven seconds. In other words, mere seconds are now allotted to the success of an advertisement.

Knowing this, brands have seemed to turn away from traditional advertisements, the kind that are brand oriented and simply reiterate their previous attempt to gain customers. In the crowded climate of today’s digital realm, companies need to stay up-to-date to get noticed by consumers, which often means taking risks that may be outside of their comfort zone.  

Understanding the Consumer Brain

So if everyone is different, how do we appeal to the masses and grab the attention of our targeted clients? 

Although humans are unique and individuality should be celebrated, there are still common feelings we share when we see something out of the ordinary. When finding time to scroll through social media or watch a show, we typically are more relaxed — and therefore less eager to tune out ads that spark our curiosity. 

The same part of our brains light up and actively listen when we are connected through an emotional draw, be it comedic relief or a puzzling storyline that keeps you guessing. By finding something wacky enough to tie into your brand or product, you might get an extraordinary ROI.

Research Revelations

There is a wealth of literature that has explored the value of brand equity to consumers (“consumer-based equity”): the value of brands is increased when consumers have positive cognitive attitudes and relationships with the brand.

Powers et al. (2012), in researching consumer behavior, found that the consumer is actively and passively ‘always on’, continuously considering purchases and evaluating various products in a given category.

Vázquez, Del Río and Iglesias (2002) further explain that before a brand can strategize how to provide value to the consumer, the consumer must create their own perceptions of the brand. This perception is created from the moment they are exposed to your brand, and they make quick unconscious decisions to remain interested or move on to the next option. 

Think Broad — But Make A Connection

Let’s take a look at Nivia, for instance, who wanted to push their children’s sunscreen. We all know that sunscreen is a necessity for your skin’s safety, but Nivia might not be your first thought when thinking about a recognizable brand. In order to get some attention, Nivia ran an advertisement that filmed a drone, designed to look like a seagull, expelling its product on children. 

Yes, you read that right...children had sunscreen “pooped” on them from above. Once the jig was up, brand reps came out to reveal their creation to their unsuspecting victims, and of course hand out samples of their product. 

Say what you will about the tastefulness of the ad — it definitely increased product awareness for their children’s sunscreen and left an impression on those who saw the ad.  

The ad was probably outside of their comfort zone, but adhered to the light-hearted nature of children, and the humor in the resemblance of sunscreen to seagull droppings. By emphasizing that obvious link for their viewers, Nivia ensured their brand would be noticed and considered.  

For businesses that provide services rather than physical products, there is still hope for that attention-grabbing factor, and it is easy to see some abnormal marketing trends sweeping the digital sphere. Take Quicken Loans for example. Their SuperBowl commercial  “Comfortable at Home” showed actor Jason Momoa “shedding” his hair and muscles to get more comfortable at home. 

The result? A 100% uptick in website traffic the day after the ad aired. (Granted, with their stratospheric prices and guaranteed reach, SuperBowl ads are basically the SuperBowl of ads, but there is a grain of wisdom to be taken from this ad for the little guys.) 

The connection between Quicken Loans and the silliness of the Momoa imagery is simple and appealing; everyone gets comfortable at home, and (as we’ve all experienced with this epidemic) having the option to do things from home is always a win. 

Be Memorable

The “wild” factor of these ads that capture our attention have one thing in common: they are memorable. Ads have become noisy, and consumers are paying less and less attention. Creating a human connection to the product — making the consumer laugh, or even just question the reasoning behind it — means their attention was grabbed. 

By providing content that the user can get a little laugh out of, before moving on to their regularly scheduled programming, your brand can become a memory — one that will resurface when it comes to a user’s purchasing decisions in your product category.

This does not mean that you need to call a meeting and come up with fifteen new outlandish ads to gain digital traction and beat out the ideas I mentioned above. The idea is, rather, to think about fresh opportunities and options when it comes to advertising. 

The idea that your brand has to stick with the same voice through every campaign is outdated. Let it go, and embrace the fact that, sometimes, you need to add a little “weird” to spark recognition.

We know that it can be difficult to find your differentiation in a crowded market. Our Diagnostic Process uncovers everything we need to know to help your brand find its unique voice and build campaign strategies that provide consumer-based equity. To quote our CEO Josh Law, “Whatever industry or methodology, it’s ultimately about being risk takers: choosing to give the world new ideas that offer real solutions.” 

Get in touch today to see how we can help you.



Powers, T., Advincula, D., Manila, A., Graiko, S. and Snyder, J. (2012) ‘Digital and social media in the purchase decision process: a special report from the advertising research foundation’, Journal of Advertising Research, 52(4), pp. 479-489.DOI: 10.2501/JAR-52-4-479-489

Vázquez, R., Del Río, A. B. and Iglesias, V. (2002) ‘Consumer-based Brand Equity: Development and Validation of a Measurement Instrument’, Journal of Marketing Management, 18(1–2), pp. 27–48. Available at: http://search.ebscohost.com.ezph ost.dur.ac.uk/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=6218348&site=ehost-live (Accessed: 5 September 2019).

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