What, exactly, is the purpose of advertising? Aside from connecting people with stuff (and making them buy that stuff), what else is there?
You might be advertising a new product that will revolutionise your customer’s life (if only they’d buy it).
You might be advertising an existing product to snaffle market share from your competitor (if only the consumer would buy it).
Or you might not be chasing sales, but rather looking for mind and attention share (if you’re in the cause or NFP sectors).
Either way, you’re trying to get people to buy (/into) more stuff more often.
So advertising is a sales medium.
But can it ever be anything else?
Could it, for example, be instructive?
In other words instructing the consumer to undertake certain actions either for their benefit or the benefit of those around them? (Some might think that this is the job of marketing or public service advertising – e.g. Embrace Life)
What about informative advertising? Again, we’re almost back in PSA territory.
Do up your seatbelt or think of the consequences, so to speak.
In these examples, instructive and informative are coming back to a similar area – that on non-profit campaigning normally from Governmental (or similar) agencies.
But could they be leveraged for your brand? What would an informative or instructional campaign from a cosmetics manufacturer look like? And what about one from an international software giant?
How would this approach work for them? Or would it work at all? And what would the work look like, for that matter?
Whatever happens, advertising should be truthful. That’s a given.
But as to whether its instructive or informative? That’s another debate and I’m keen to hear your views.
Where do you stand on this issue? Should/could brands ever be truly instructive or informative? Or should they be left to get on with advertising practice as it is at the moment, selling more stuff to more people more often?