I did some advertising for AT&T Network Systems a number of years ago, introducing Systemax CAT 5 computer cable into Asia. We converted some U.S. ads for local use having IDG Computerworld in-country offices translate them into local languages. Having worked in B2B advertising for many years, with little success other than an occasional readership award and bingo card report I was thoroughly surprised when people across Thailand picked up their phones and ordered beaucoup feet of cable.
It was like Sears Roebuck catalog time. The markets were so young. Local companies needed cable, didn’t know where to get it, and we provided a location and phone number.
In the United States, the advertising market is so mature, so filled with messaging, it’s hard to find the pent-up demand. X, the LA punk band, sings “Now there are seven kinds of Coke, 500 kinds of cigarettes. This freedom of choice in the USA drives everybody crazy.”
Competition in the modern world is rampant. Advertising isn’t just about access anymore, it’s about creating awareness, then interest, trial, and preference. And as technology and service become more in vogue it’s about education. No wonder it’s hard to do advertising well.
That’s why brand strategy is so critical. It feeds and focuses the advertising beast.