Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Reaching Enthusiasts

Just some unvarnished opinion in this post.

I believe that some of the most useless advertising is done in enthusiast categories. What's an enthusiast category? Well, there are thousands of them -- wine, boats, photography, video games, fishing. Anything where consumers arrive at an ad with a decidedly higher level of knowledge and interest.

When consumers know more, you need to sell less. Communicate instead. Give them category information that hopefully reflects well on your product but don't try to tell them what to think. They're too smart for that.

For me, the classic example of misplaced advertising to an enthusiast market is when a mass-market, below-average wine runs an ad in The Wine Spectator. I subscribe to WS and enjoy reading it, but I am very unlikely to be swayed by a gauzy photo of a couple in a sun-drenched meadow enjoying a glass of average red. In fact, I would advise all wine brands to avoid WS and leave the advertising in it to cars, watches, technology, etc.

If you have an enthusiast product, question your advertising relentlessly. You know that your target audience will.

— Dean Gemmell


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