The text read, "A half hour ago a pool of bloody chicken juice sat on this counter." The picture was of a boy (appearing to be about 4) grabbing a cookie from a pile sitting on a counter.
Gasp! It's enough to make any parent squirm.
The ad was for disinfectant wipes. In fact, it was probably the best ad I saw while flipping through Better Homes and Gardens in my doctor's office.
Would the ad have been more effective if it simply showed a picture of the product and said something like, "kills the germs on your countertop to keep your family safe"? I doubt it.
Many of the greatest ads in history act to stir the emotions of the buyer by stimulating the imagination. Remember that people make decisions emotionally first and then justify with logic.
A classic direct mail headline (from a piece that made millions of dollars) read: They all laughed when I sat down at the piano, and then I began to play. The ad sold a home-study piano course.
Both the bloody chicken-juice ad and the piano piece use emotional implication. The bloody chicken-juice ad implies that your children are in danger. The piano piece implies social acceptance.
The ads don't say something like: "play the piano and everybody will like you." It's too blunt and doesn't successfully get past the conscious filtering that says, "I don't need to play the piano to have people like me." Our conscious filters might also say, "for centuries people have cleaned counterops with soap and water and yet the human race has somehow survived."
These ads also cause us to create pictures in our heads. You can see the shy guy at the party sitting at the piano. You can imagine a pool of bloody chicken-juice. Holding these pictures in mind stimulates deep emotional desires that we might not even be conscious of. The desires for social acceptance, and to protect one's children are basic human nature.
If you create your own advertising, it's always a good idea to begin with the customer in mind. That about which emotions and desires you can stimulate through your images and words.
Telling stories is a great way to work the human imagination.
Make that emotional connection and your advertising will become a customer magnet.
J D Moore - Marketing Comet