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Advertising is the most romantic marketing discipline. The popularity of the television drama Mad Men, set in the nascent days of Madison Avenue, has helped to cement that image. So, who better than Don Draper, the handsome but moody creative director from the series, to define advertising:
“Advertising is based on one thing, happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams whatever you are doing is okay. You are okay.” (From the series premiere “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.”)
Moving from fiction to the real world (if advertising is the real world), advertising great David Ogilvy expressed it this way in Ogilvy on Advertising:
“I do not regard advertising as an art form, but as a medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting you buy the product.”
Romantic or not, advertising plays the key role of making potential customers aware of a product, and, if it is done well, predisposing them to buy it. Advertising is too vast to cover in great detail here. For the purposes of the professional marketer, this chapter discussed advertising strategy in general, and summarizes the key advertising concepts and methods. It also examines how to purchase adverting, select an agency and measure results. A fair amount of time is spent discussing online advertising best practices, as this is something many internal marketing teams manage themselves.
In 1962 Time called David Ogilvy “the most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry.” His advice on advertising is as important today as it was then. In his book Ogilvy on Advertising, he starts with a chapter on how to create advertising that sells product, which he believed was the only “good” advertising. Below is a digest of his thinking:
Do your homework – The big idea, the “aha moment,” will come only from a deep understanding of the product. Many advertising executives skip the research, and their ideas fall flat and their copy fails to convince. Ogilvy recounts spending three weeks engaging in background research before he came upon his big idea for the Rolls-Royce account. An editor at car magazine The Motor had written “at 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise comes from the electric clock.” That became the headline of his very successful campaign.
Figure 1: Ogilvy’s Rolls-Royce ad
Positioning – Knowing what a product does, and who it is intended for, are essential to creating a great ad. Ogilvy was among the visionaries who moved advertising from the image era to the positioning era, as we discussed in Chapter 2. For example, he positioned Dove soap for women with dry skin, feeling its scent and name would not appeal to men with dirty hands. That position is still in use today. Similarly, lacking any measurable profile, Ogilvy positioned Saab as “the car for the Norwegian winter.”
Brand Image – After you position your product, you need to determine an appropriate image for it. As we discussed in Chapter 2, products are like people: They have personalities, and they need one that appeals to the buyer. Importantly, a product needs both a position and a brand image to be successful. Ogilvy’s realization was that image alone had become insufficient.
What’s the Big Idea – Big ideas the product of a lot of homework and a bit of inspiration. Discovering them is part of the magic of Madison Avenue. Big ideas can come from anywhere. Ogilvy maintained that recognizing a big idea is one of the most important traits of an ad man. As for what characterizes a big idea, Ogilvy encouraged advertisers to ask themselves the following questions: Did the big idea make you gasp when you first saw or heard it? Is it unique? Did you wish you had thought of it? Does it fit your strategy perfectly? Will it last for 30 years like the Marlboro Man has?
Make the Product the Hero – Always make certain that the product, and not a gimmick or the ad itself, is the center of the campaign. When a product seems too dull or undifferentiated, dig deeper into the product itself rather than resort to gimmickry.
Repeat Your Winners – If something works, stick with it. Don’t change for the sake of change. Many marketing organizations become bored with an idea that is still fresh and resonates with buyers.
An important part of any advertising strategy is knowing the buyer. Insights into the buyer’s preferences and attitudes will help you discover the big idea, inform the creative and the language of an ad, and inform you where you should be running it. We suggest you revisit Chapter 3 on market segmentation to ensure you have done your homework on the buyer.
Types of Advertising
After you have finalized your advertising strategy, your next step is to communicate it to the prospective customer. Fortunately for advertisers, there is no shortage of outlets they can utilize: print, radio, television, online, and outdoor advertising. We examine all of these options below.
Print – printed advertisements that appear in newspapers and magazines. Display ads are large format ads that are created by combing photographs, images and typography, and are the dominant ad format in newspapers and magazines. Newspapers also offer classified ads and supplements – those full-color inserts that typically comprise the bulk of your Sunday paper. Print advertising has two major advantages over other types of advertising: (a) Consumers spend more time paying attention to print ads, and (b) these ads can convey more detail than television, radio, or outdoor ads. Historically, organizations have invested more money in newspaper and magazine advertising than in television and radio.
Radio – commercials or program sponsorships on the radio. Commercials are typically 10, 15, 20, 30, or 60 seconds long. They are sold nationally as participations or locally as spot announcements. Radio is still a widely popular media format and is the most effective way to reach prospects while they are in the car.
Television – commercials or program sponsorships on television. Commercials are typically 10, 15, 20, 30, or 60 seconds long. They are sold nationally as participations or locally as spot announcements.
Online – banner advertisements or sponsored search engine advertisements. Online ads are becoming increasingly popular as consumers perform more and more activities online. At this time, however, online is still a small market relative to print and television advertising. One major benefit of online ads is that it is easier to measure their effectiveness than that of other types. (We discuss measurement later in the chapter.)
Outdoor, also referred to as out of home (OOH) – signs or billboards that appear either outside or indoors in public spaces such as airports. OOH includes ads in or on taxis, buses, trains, transit shelters, news racks, and stadiums.
Choosing the right ad media will depend on a number of factors. First, what is the goal of the advertising campaign – awareness, brand building, or direct response? Second, who is the target customer? And last, what is the budget? Not everyone can afford a Super Bowl ad. The types of media used in an ad campaign is known as the media mix. A media plan is a document that reflects the strategy, goals, audience, budget and media mix for an ad campaign.
Again, and organization’s media mix will be determined by an ad campaigns goal, prospective customer, and budget. Most marketers use some form of online advertising because it is flexible enough to achieve multiple goals, reaches both business and consumer buyers, and is relatively inexpensive. Television and radio advertising are used primarily by B2C companies. (IBM is a notable exception in using television advertising to reach business buyers of its computers and software.) Print advertising is also used heavily by B2C marketers. B2B marketers in larger companies should use print for brand building in the mainstream business press. B2B marketers of all sizes should consider print ads in specialized trade publications, which are both cheaper and more narrowly targeted than the mainstream press.
Like television and radio, OOH advertising is utilized largely by B2C marketing. B2B marketers should consider OOH ads around trade shows and in airports and train stations their buyers pass through.
One innovative and exclusive form of OOH advertising is the blimp. Blimps are effective mobile billboards, due to their slow speed, extremely long “loiter time,” and inexpensive fuel costs. In 1925 Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company became the first company to use aerial advertising, when it created its in-house blimp series, the Goodyear Type AD. Today, Goodyear and other companies use blimps to promote themselves at sporting events, where they provide broadcasters with aerial television coverage in exchange for television exposure. Current models of blimps that display aerial advertisements often have sophisticated LED billboards for nighttime and exposure.
Using Online Advertising
Many marketing teams handle their online advertising in house, without engaging an advertising agency. A company may primarily use textual pay-per-click ads, for example, and not require the creativity or copywriting an agency brings. Some companies can produce suitable banner ads with their graphic design team or creative agency. Online advertising is covered in detail here because it is the one type of advertising almost all marketers will be involved with directly. Online Ad Formats
Display advertising that appears on the Web is known as banner advertising. This name derives from the fact that the ads were originally available as rectangular “banners” across the top of a Web page. Today banner ads are available in a number of standard sizes called “ad units,” which are defined by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). Among the most commonly used are tiles, skyscrapers, leaderboards, and popovers. Banner ads can be static, animated, or contain video. Most banner ads contain a call to action that links to the advertiser’s website or landing page.
Figure 2 above shows the banner advertising portfolio defined by the IAB. The width and height in pixels is shown along with the name of the ad unit. The Universal Ad Package is a set of four ad units offered by publishers as a “package,” where ads in these four formats are used collectively across the publisher’s site. Rising Star Display Ad Units are designed to be the only ad on a page.
The first known online display ads appeared on Prodigy, an online service owned by the unlikely partnership of CBS, IBM, and Sears, starting in the 1980s. America Online joined in later. The first true Web banners – those actually on the World Wide Web and not on a proprietary online service – were introduced by HotWired, the online division of Wired. AT&T’s 468×60 pixel ad with the unoriginal teaser “Have You Ever Clicked Your Mouse Right Here? You Will” received a stunning 78% click-through rate – a percentage never again achieved in banner advertising.
Figure 3: The first banner ad displayed on HotWired on October 22, 1994
Banner ads are most often measured in impressions – the number of times they are available for view. Advertisers purchase them in lots of 1000 impressions and pricing is given in cost per thousand. Cost per thousand was originally a method of comparing the cost effectiveness of two or more alternative media vehicles with different pricing schemes, but is now most commonly associated with banner advertising. Conversion rates for banner ads can be very low, often a fraction of a percent. Therefore, banner ads should be used when the primary goal of a campaign is awareness.
Pay-per-click (PPC) ads , also known as cost-per-click ads, were introduced in 1998 by GoTo.com As the name suggests, advertisers pay the site owner or ad network when a PPC ad is clicked, not simply when it is displayed, in contrast to banner ads, which are purchased in lots of 1000 impressions.
Pay-per-click ads are almost always displayed on search engine results pages (SERPS), usually on top and to the right. Advertisers select a list of keywords that, when used in a search, will trigger the display of the ad. These ads are usually text-based, further distinguishing them from display ads. This system is known also known as “paid search” advertising. Working to have your products or company shown in the unpaid “natural search” results on a SERP is done via search engine optimization (SEO), a topic we discuss in the next chapter
Google is by far the largest provider of PPC ads. Although not the creator of PPC – and for many years a harsh critic – Google is credited with creating the auction system for ad purchase. Advertisers bid what they are willing to pay for a certain keyword or phrase. The amount they bid influences their position on the page, with the top positions being most desirable.
The term search engine marketing (SEM) was introduced in the early 2000s to describe the practice of using search engines to promote a Web page or website. SEM includes both SEO and PPC, though many people mean just PPC when they say SEM.
Affiliate marketing is the placement of an ad by an online retailer on a number of other websites, called affiliates. Typically, these affiliate sites have something in common with the retailer, such as online travel guides working with airlines or hotels, or they cater to an audience the retailer seeks to reach. Affiliates are paid upon conversion; for example, when a customer purchases a product or signs up for a service. Payment is usually calculated as a percentage of the total sales generated directly by the referral. This model differs markedly from the banner ad CPM and PPC pricing models.
Affiliate marketing was created by CDNow in 1994, and it became popular following the success of the Amazon.com affiliate program, launched in 1996. The Amazon program generated low-cost brand exposure, and it provided small websites with a way to earn supplemental income by displaying ads for books relevant to their visitors and sold by Amazon. Affiliate marketing remains popular in bookselling, and it is used extensively in the travel industry. Orbitz Worldwide is a popular online travel company that pays commissions to travel guide and other qualified Web sites through its affiliate program.
Social or Viral Advertising
Despite the size and continued growth of the global advertising market, there is concern that consumers are increasingly tuning out the incessant cacophony of advertising messages. Significantly for marketers, modern technologies have made it easier to consumers to avoid advertisements. For example, digital video recorders (DVRs) enable television viewers to speed past commercials. Apple’s iTunes lets people listen to whatever music they want, whenever they want – without commercials. And conversion rates on banner ads are tiny. To increase consumer attention, advertisers have introduced a new type of advertising that engages viewers and in some cases actually recruits them to pass the ad along. It is known as social advertising, or viral advertising, and it can be very effective.
The majority of social advertising relies on two fundamental tactics – the pass-along video and “gamification.” The pass-along video is one that is so unbelievable, funny, interesting, or some other superlative that viewers pass it along to their friends or share it with their social network. Pass along videos can be used for brand building and product awareness. YouTube is an easy outlet for distributing pass-along videos, and this is one type of media that is okay to produce in house. The Blendtec videos mentioned in Chapter 7 is a great example. Slick production that resembles a television commercial can have a negative impact, as the viewer may sniff an advertisement. You can also use pass-along videos for direct response advertising. One way is to produce a teaser video with an offer of seeing the conclusion on registration.
Gamification is the creation of a game that involves the brand. As an example, Green Giant placed peel-off stickers on their frozen vegetables that could be redeemed for “cash” in the online game Farmville. (Note the obvious connection between their products and the fresh produce of farming.) Similarly, Nike created a game of “tag” for users of its Nike+ running band, where users can share their running stats online. Players tried not to be “it” by running more than people in their game group – a natural motivator for people who find it difficult to psych themselves up for running. Other examples are photo scavenger hunts where users are given a list of objects to take a picture of with their phone, joke contests, and companies that have created original online or mobile games that feature their products.
Smartphone and tablet use are exploding. According to the IAB, 46% of American adults own a smartphone or tablet. Where users go, advertisers will follow. By 2016, it is estimated that U.S. mobile ad spending will grow to over $6B.
In the face of such large numbers, marketers should consider mobile advertising as part of their strategy. Banner and pay-per-click are still the dominant forms of advertising on smartphones and tablets. The most important consideration for mobile advertising is the difference in user expectations on a mobile device. Space is at a premium, so the ads are smaller, and there are fewer of them. The landing page an ad link leads to needs to be a mobile-ready site that is easy to navigate (We discuss mobile websites in the next chapter.).
Mobile brings additional opportunities. Some companies are creating mobile applications – “apps” – to extend their brand experience. The practice of “geofencing,” or establishing a virtual fence around a geographic area, allows advertisers to target ads based on location, such as near a retail location. Increased bandwidth and reduced rates for data download may bring more television style commercials to our phones. Marketers need to monitor their target customer or demographic to decide when and what kind of mobile advertising makes sense.
Online Advertising Best Practices
Many elements go into creating a successful online ad campaign. Just as in print and television advertising, no single format will work for every company. All of Ogilvy’s rules apply to online campaigns. In addition, a few other practices will maximize your results:
- Targeting – Though it sounds obvious, it is essential that your ads are displayed in the right places and to the right people. Because online ads are so easy to set up and the reach of the Internet so vast, you need to pay attention to where your ads are being displayed, lest you suffer “spill” or “leakage” – money wasted on displaying ads to the wrong demographic or in the wrong geography.
- Format and Size – Research by the ad network DoubleClick has revealed that larger ad units generate higher click-through rates. These ads are more expensive, but they can be worth the money if they motivate consumers to take your desired action more often.
- Keyword Matching and Context – Make sure your textual PPC ads make sense in context. These ads are much more effective if the ad text fits in with the search a user is performing. Most ad networks allow for multiple variants of an ad and text substitution based on the keyword.
- Strong Offer and Clear CTA – As we discussed in Chapter 9, a strong offer and call to action are essential to any direct marketing effort. The prize, discount, report, or whatever you are offering must be compelling, and the CTA should be clear.
- Landing Page Optimization – A landing page is the Web page a prospective customer sees when they click on your ad. Bad landing pages hurt conversion. Your landing page should match your ad – same offer, same look and feel, same language. Otherwise potential customers may get confused, turned off, pissed off, diverted, or any number of things you don’t want. A pervasive bad habit of online marketers is to send users to their home page regardless of the product or service being advertised.
- Continual Testing – Everything matters online: the creative, the offer, the CTA, the placement, the frequency, and share of voice (which we discuss below) To maximize the ad’s effectiveness, it is essential that you test and tune everything. A/B testing, as we discussed in Chapter 9, is a must. And the unfortunate news is that you will never be done, so make sure you have the staff to keep on top of it.
Measuring Advertising Effectiveness
Advertising is expensive, so you need to measure its effectiveness to ensure you can justify the spend. Measuring also helps you allocate your budget to the most successful properties and ad types. You should express the goals of your ad campaigns in terms of the following factors:
- Reach — the number of buyers in the target market who view or hear the ad
- Frequency — the number of times a target buyer should view or hear the ad
- Desired outcome — the action a buyer should take after being exposed to the ad.
Marketers employ a number of metrics to measure reach, frequency, and desired outcome. The most widely used ones are:
- Share of voice
- Click-through rate
- Conversion rate
- Cost per acquisition
We examine each of these below.
Impressions, also known as ad views, are simply the total number of times an ad unit is available for view. Impressions can be measured for any type of advertising, but is most accurate for online ads. Ad networks can tell an advertiser exactly how many times an ad was shown. While broadcasters may know how many time a radio or television advertisement aired, they have to rely on viewership estimates to calculate impressions. Publishers estimate print ad impressions based on circulation. OOH ad network owners estimate based on foot or vehicle traffic.
In advertising, share of voice (SoV) is the percentage of ad impressions for one brand in a particular product category as compared to other brands in the same category. SoV is also sometimes referred to as advertising weight. Measuring SoV in print, radio, television, and OOH relies on third-party reports that calculate total available advertising inventory. The amount of money spent on advertising is sometimes used as an estimate when reliable impression data is not available. Measuring SoV online, sometimes called impression share, is easier. The percentage of times an online ad unit appears compared to the number of times it could have been shown, based on the total available ad space inventory, is its SoV. Google AdWords calculates impression share automatically. In some cases, an advertiser or agency may have to request total inventory numbers from the ad network or Web property owner.
The click-through rate is the measure of the number of ad impressions that convinced a user to respond to the call to action, measured as a percentage. Click-through rates are typically low, less than 1% of impressions (nowhere near the 78% the first banner ad produced). Though this may seem low, it is typical for direct marketing efforts, as we discussed in Chapter 9. Remember, banner and PPC ads are two types of direct response advertising, which is a form of direct marketing.
Whereas the click-through rate measures how many visitors accessed your landing page or offer page, the conversion rate calculates the percentage of visitors who were compelled to take a desired action to achieve a business outcome. Desired outcomes can range from downloading software to buying a product to subscribing to a newsletter to completing a registration form. Conversion rate is an essential measurement in any form of direct response advertising. Conversions can be measured for any print, radio, television, or OOH ad that contains a response mechanism, such as a unique URL, phone number, or QR code.
Cost per acquisition, or CPA, is how much it costs per prospective customer to get them to convert to the desired outcome. CPA is your total cost of the direct response advertising campaign – including any costs associated with the offer – divided by the number of conversions.
Which of these measures you should employ depends on your organization your business goals. Some companies aim to create buzz by achieving maximum SoV. Others — for example, ecommerce companies — are more focused on maximizing conversions. The failure to tie the measurement to a business objective – which is simply accounting for how money was spent – is a common failing of marketers. Leaders of your organization do not really care of about clicks or impressions. They care about a particular business objective, whether a purchase, a meeting, a lead or something else. Your conversions should align with these objective, and this is what you should be reporting. The marketing team, on the other hand, should absolutely dig into the details and try to maximize outcomes for as little money as possible.
Purchasing Ad Space
The major mechanisms for purchasing online ad space are keyword auctions, advertising networks, and major Web properties and publications. Let’s take a closer look at each one, beginning with keyword auctions.
PPC ads are usually sold on the basis of a keyword auction. A keyword auction is a process by which advertisers bid on keywords used in searches for the right to have their ads displayed on the SERP. The position of the ad on the page is determined by a combination of the bid the quality of the ad, and the click-through rate of the ad. Ads that display on the first SERP page and in the top positions or upper right generally perform better. Many people do not understand that their position on the page depends on ad quality and clickthrough rate, as well as their bid. Improving their ad and clickthrough rate by refining their ad copy and landing page can actually reduce the amount they need to bid while still resulting in a good position, saving them money and improving performance.
Purchasing ads is simple, and advertisers can decide how much “owning” a keyword is worth to them. Budgeting is critical. Advertisers decide not only how much to pay for a keyword, but how frequently it appears. So, for example, an advertiser could use the same budget to appear in the top position with a lower frequency or in a lower position with increased frequency. Purchasing PPC ads from Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and other search engines requires little more than opening an account with a credit card. Because ad prices change every day, marketing teams need to pay close attention to PPC ads to monitor their spend.
Reaching potential buyers through an online ad network — also known as a display network — can be easier and frequently less expensive than dealing with all of the relevant websites individually. Ad networks vary from the Web properties (really just a fancy term for Web sites) owned by a single magazine publisher, to independent companies that have agreements to buy a certain amount of ad inventory across multiple publishers, to confederations of smaller sites that possess similar audiences or themes. Google itself has two networks – the “search network” that displays ads on SERPS, and the “content network” that displays Google ads on other websites that sign up with Google to make money from advertising. Finally, well-known publications and Web properties typically have a dedicated advertising sales staff, or, if not, a dedicated agency to handle ad buys.
Working with a Media Buyer
Many companies opt to use media buyers for advice on media mix and to strike better deals with media outlets. Media buyers are individuals who are responsible for purchasing time and advertising space for advertising purposes. They may work for an ad agency or for a specialized media-buying agency. Media buyers can suggest the appropriate media outlets based on the goals of your advertising campaign, taking into account demographics, reach, inventory, and other factors. Media buyers can often strike a better deal because these professionals know how much discounting is typical and who might have unsold ad inventory you can get on the cheap.
Selecting an Advertising Agency
Whether you need an advertising agency depends on your business. Large consumer product companies almost always work with an ad agency. B2B marketers mounting a print, radio, or television advertising campaign should have an agency. Print, OOH and banner ads created in house are usually easy to spot: They look amateurish, and they probably lack the big idea. Some companies use a design or “digital” agency for their online banner ads.
Many aspects of selecting an ad agency boil down to common sense and chemistry. That said, your organization may require specific capabilities, such as global reach or market research. Make certain you select an agency that can provide everything you need.
When selecting an agency, start with the ones that focus on your industry. We also recommend that you select agencies of similar size to your organization. If the agency is much larger than your organization, they might dismiss you as too small to be of importance. Conversely, a substantially smaller agency might lack adequate resources to manage your account effectively.
Sending out a short request for proposal (RFP) to winnow down your list is common. Here are a few questions you should ask:
- Who will be handling your account? Make certain the individual who will manage your account is not the summer intern. If working with one of the senior people is important to you, then get their commitment before you make a selection.
- How do they charge? Find out what you can expect for creative, and what’s included. For example, does the agency impose additional charges for developing accompanying assets such as direct mail pieces? How do they handle change fees? Will they charge a commission for placing your ads?
- How do they hire creative talent? Inquire as to how the agency thinks about creative people, where they find these individuals, and how they retain them.
- What is the future of advertising? An open-ended question like this accomplishes two things. First, it indicates whether the agency thinks strategically. Second, it tells you how tapped in they are to the changing landscape.
- How do they measure success? When you hire an agency, your success will be based on their success. Therefore, knowing how they define success, and whether they systematically measure it, is important. Your boss will not care that the agency you picked won a Clio award if your sales don’t pick up.
- What have they done recently? Review the agency’s recent performance, with a special focus on any out-of-the-box ideas they have implemented. Good agencies try new things and their customers benefit.
After you have narrowed down the list of prospects based on these questions, invite the finalists to your company’s office to make a presentation – the “pitch.” A key point: Unless you are an immense client like Coke or McDonald’s, don’t expect a fully executed advertisement. Ads can be very expensive, and it’s not reasonable to expect an agency to invest that much money merely to make their pitch. The agency might present sketches or a foam core mood board, which is a collage of images designed to express the concept. Some agencies may just pitch to you verbally.
After that, the decision is up to you. Advertising is a highly subjective game. Good luck!
There have been so many great ads over the decades. How would we pick just one as the greatest of all time? Looking at the Ad Age Top 100 makes things even harder. Volkswagen’s “Think Small” that introduced the VW Beetle to the U.S. in the 60s. #1) The Marlboro Man? (#3) Nike’s “Just do it”? (#4) “A diamond is forever” from de Beers? (#6) The Absolut Vodka bottle campaign? (#7) “Tastes great, less filling” – quick, name the beer? (#8) These are just a few. Yet the ad in the number 12 spot is intriguing.
Apple’s “1984” ad appeared only one time, on January 22, 1984, during the National Football League’s Super Bowl XVIII between the Washington Redskins and the Los Angeles Raiders. Super Bowl viewership is huge (over 75 million then and over 100 million today), and advertisers pay huge sums of money to use the Super Bowl broadcast as a springboard for new campaigns. But, if advertising is all about awareness through repetition, could an ad shown only once truly be effective? Would it pass Ogilvy’s test of being so interesting it made you want to buy Apple’s product?
The Super Bowl ad introduced the Apple Macintosh. The big idea was to pit the Mac against the incumbent IBM personal computer. The ad was a deliberate takeoff of George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. It was created by Chiat/Day’s copywriter, Steve Hayden, and art director, Brent Thomas, and directed by Ridley Scott of Blade Runner fame.
The commercial opens with a dystopic, industrial setting in blue and gray tones, showing a line of people marching in unison through a long tunnel lined with a string of computer monitors. A female track and field athlete, shown in color, is running toward a giant screen that displays pronouncements from an Orwellian Big Brother character. Chased by the thought police, she is carrying a brass track and field hammer, which she then throws, crashing through the giant screen. The ad ends with text and a voiceover: “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ’1984.’”
The ad garnered all kinds of television commercial awards, including TV Guide’s Number One Greatest Commercial of All Time and Advertising Age’s Greatest Commercial.
Though the ad was broadcast only once, it attracted worldwide news coverage. The buzz created by “1984” was tremendous. The positioning was perfect. It was true to the brand. It was Apple – upstart innovator against the IBM’s machine. We’re convinced it holds up well after almost 30 years.
The commercial was a big idea that made a segment of the market want to join the revolution and buy a Mac. David Ogilvy would be pleased.
- Advertising Principles and Practice, Wells, Moriarty, Burnett, Person Prentice Hall, 2006
- Ogilvy on Advertising, David Ogilvy, Vintage Books, 1985
- Search Engine Marketing, Andreas Ramos and Stephanie Cota, McGraw-Hill Osborne Media, 2009
 Advertising Principles and Practice, Wells, Moriarty, Burnett, Person Prentice Hall, 2006, p.211
 “Oct. 27, 1994: Web Gives Birth to Banner Ads,” Wired, Ryan Singell, October 27, 2010 http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2010/10/1027hotwired-banner-ads/
 Confusingly, cost per thousand is abbreviated CPM. In a strange confluence , the English words “cost” and “per” were combined with the Latin “mille” for thousand, represented by the Roman numeral M.
 “Mobile Buyer’s Guide,” Interactive Advertising Bureau, Second Edition, 2012 p. 5 www.iab.net/mobile_buyers_guide
 Ibid p. 6
 Search Engine Marketing, Ramos and Cota, McGraw Hill, 2009 p.204
 “Top 100 Advertising Campaigns,” Ad Age, March 29, 1999 http://adage.com/article/news/top-100-advertising-campaigns/62939/