Tie it All Together
Now that you have read this chapter, you should be able to understand how advertisers study and analyze consumers and construct communication processes to reach them:
- You can compare and contrast the traditional linear communications model with the new interactive, nonlinear, multivocal communications model.
- You can identify the various components of communications that are necessary to establish effective communications.
- You can describe the diffusion of innovations process.
- You can list and explain five stages of the consumer decision-making process.
- You can recognize and recall several models for studying attitudes and information processing.
- You can characterize the external influences on consumers.
- You can explain culture’s role in globalization and advertising.
USE WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED
- Do you ever get much sleep when you’re on an airplane? Most people don’t, and that’s a problem for airline commuters who travel the globe. With an eye toward serving the public better, Continental Airlines has decided to retrofit many of its planes with new lie-flat seats. The new seats will be in premium sections of aircraft and will allow passengers to lie completely flat. Another feature of the new seats is their size—they will give customers six and a half feet of sleeping space without appreciably impacting cabin space. Continental hasn’t forgotten gadgetry for the new seats and their occupants. Each seat will be equipped with laptop power, headsets, and USB ports.
Considering that Continental wants to introduce its new seats this year, what message format would you suggest? What target customer is likely to receive the first messages about the new seat? Explain how your chosen message format will effectively reach the designated target customer.
- “Fashions come and go,” as they say; however, with Baby Boomers approaching their sixties, the 1960s seem to be coming back in fashion. AMC’s Mad Men, a stylized adult drama about advertising and ad men (and women) from the 1960s, has grown rapidly in popularity with U.S. television audiences. Period costuming and retro taste cultures have brought back memories and stories to those who grew up in the time period. Smoking, heavy drinking, no seat belts in cars, fascination with early TV, sexism, racism, and sexual harassment in the office are themes that are as common in the program as the ad campaigns that are masterminded by the Mad Men. The uncanny attention to detail in this “period drama” has won the creators critical acclaim.
The viewer of Mad Men will notice rather quickly that 1960s-era Mad Men smoked and encouraged America to smoke. Review information about Mad Men and the 1960s approach to smoking. Review the chapter section on motivation. Assuming the role of a social critic, describe how 1960s-era ad campaigns encouraged smoking. Focus on motivations, involvement, and perceived risk used in these campaigns. Provide illustrations of the motivations if possible.
One of the keys to understanding a consumer’s behavior is to understand how consumers perceive advertising messages. Advertisers often use size, color, position, and novelty to impact consumers’ perception. Inverted Advertising, a Houston-based advertising company, has come up with a new twist on how to reach a mobile population. Consumers often walk, skate, or ride through the organization’s advertising messages. The company uses projected 3-D holograms on sidewalks, ice sheets, walls, ceilings, kiosks, and other smooth surfaces to stimulate consumer perception and gain attention.
- Source credibility and source attractiveness are both extremely important in advertising and communication. Using advertisements as your focal point, list what you perceive to be five credible sources for purchasing products. Comment on the degree of source attractiveness among those sources. Provide examples if possible.
- Marketers believe that early adopters can make or break a new product launch. Describe the early adopter and his or her function. Pick a new product that has recently been introduced and demonstrate how early adopters could have created, or did create, a “buzz” for the product. How should advertisers reach early adopters with messages? Explain your rationale.
- How do you learn about brands? The question is not easy to answer. Think for a few minutes about all the information you process about brands during a single day; create a diary that lists that information as you receive it. Keep the diary for a few days. Compare your results with others. What common threads with your peers do you find? What unique ways did brands attempt to communicate with you? Comment on what you observed and your conclusions about your diary.
- Describe a brand community and a consumer tribe. Discuss similarities and differences. Are you in one of these groups? Describe and comment. How could marketers and advertisers use brand communities and consumer tribes to stimulate acceptance and purchase of their products?
As the chapter indicates, subliminal persuasion is “a topic that has captivated the public for more than fifty years.” Basically, subliminal persuasion attempts to reach consumers below the conscious thought or awareness threshold. Validity of the technique is, however, open to serious question by scholars and critics. Review material on subliminal persuasion in the chapter section and use a search engine of your own choosing to find additional information. Be sure to review historical work by Wilson Brian Key during your investigation. Once you understand the concept of subliminal persuasion and its colorful history, take an ethical stance either for or against the technique. Support your position. Describe any examples that would help you defend your position. Participate in a class discussion and present your position and findings.