There’s no need to shout

No one likes to be shouted at, particularly not by strangers. So can someone tell me when it became a good idea for advertisers to do so in the interests of engaging potential customers?

There’s no need to shout

Sean Adams

A couple of weeks ago I was in the CBD, and decided to cut along one of Sydney’s less glamorous streets. No upmarket boutiques in sight, just a seemingly endless array of ugly looking “discount stores”.

And not content with the visual pollution they are creating, most of the owners of these stores, in their wisdom, have decided that the best way to attract customers is to employ a spruiker to shout at the poor passers-by.

“Genuine French perfume, only $5… these prices are below cost… they won’t last long. Blah, blah, blah.”

I seriously wonder how many people are actually seduced inside by their strident (usually) cockney tones – most people I saw were avoiding eye contact and hurriedly scuttling away.

And the funny thing is that the more people passed them by, the louder the spruikers started shouting and, observing the scene, the lower my own expectations of the quality of their merchandise sank.

Now they may very well be offering some decent products at amazing prices, but I for one have been turned off and have no wish to find out more.

But this aural pollution is not confined to the streets – it can often be found in our very own living rooms

There is a sub-culture of advertisers who seem to think that the louder and more “urgent” they make their ads, the more people will beat a path to their door.

I beg to differ. To me the louder the ad, the more desperate the advertiser sounds with the result being that my quality expectations of the brand head even further south.

And who wants to buy a low quality product from a desperate seller?

An old creative director I worked with had a good analogy for this. He likened advertising to a knock on the front door when you are enjoying a quiet night at home.

The interruption is bad enough, but when you get to the door, who would you rather find there – someone who talks to you in a considered, engaging way and offers you something of direct benefit to you, or someone who screams at the top of their voice about how cheap they are?

And this epidemic of loudness is not restricted to advertising on TV – radio advertising is obviously a prime culprit with its eagerness to fill every second with noise, but so too are non-broadcast media – even print advertising with its huge headlines, excess use of red and ample exclamation marks can also be too “loud” in its own way and also contribute to perceptions of poor quality.

Now I am not arguing for recessive advertising here, all I am saying is that there are other ways to gain attention. Ways that are built on a deeper understanding of the customer and then using a bit of subtlety and charm to help forge a meaningful connection, while preserving the quality and reputation of the brand.

No-one likes to be shouted at, particularly not by strangers. So can someone tell me when it became a good idea for advertisers to do so in the interests of engaging potential customers?


To read more Sean Adams blogs, click here .


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