I started thinking about this topic when I saw another of the Chick-fil-A ads. This was one where the cows were trying to get you to eat more spicy chicken, some promotional item Chick-fil-A must be running. It got me thinking.
I mean, I love this advertising campaign. Not the spicy chicken one in particular, more just the whole cows trying to get you to eat chicken thing. I don’t know why I like it so much. It isn’t that funny, or even particularly imaginative or original. Still, the ads amuse me. Probably in the same way that bright colors amused me as a very young child (and still do). I can’t help it. I love the cow ads and can recognize them instantaneously.
However, as much as I love these ads, they don’t make me want Chick-fil-A any more than I already do. Frankly, and I know that I risk being labeled a heretic by the very powerful pro-Chick-fil-A agenda, I’m not that thrilled by the place. I’ll eat there if I have to. It isn’t like I DON’T like it, but I’m just not enthused about the idea. I could take it or leave it. I like McDonalds, Taco Bell, Subway, and most other fast food better. It isn’t bad, but it just doesn’t do anything for me.
And the ads, however much I like them, don’t make me want Chick-fil-A any more. They just don’t. My limited interest in Chick-fil-A is not further stimulated. So, the question then is, are the ads successful? I mean, it can’t be denied that they raise brand awareness for Chick-fil-A. I see the ads and in a fraction of a second I know who the ad is for. That is certainly something. Brand recognition is important. However, is it more important than making consumers want the product? Really, I don’t know.
I suppose that it could be worse. The ads could not inspire me to want their products and could generate no brand awareness at all. Then they would be a total waste of money. At least for now they generate brand awareness. Perhaps in other people they generate a desire for the product as well. I could just be an anomaly.
Of course, this is by no means restricted to Chick-fil-A. Plenty other advertisement campaigns have had similar or worse problems. My brother-in-law always talks about the most memorable ad he ever witnessed. All it was (this was a radio commercial, mind you) was a voice quickly reading the name of a pizza place (I think called Pizza Time) in Lincoln, the phone number, and then the name again. My brother-in-law heard it only once over fifteen years ago and to this day he can still recite the number. It should be born in mind that this is a man who occasionally has been known not to remember his own phone number. I would call that memorable, though he never did order pizza from them.
So, is this successful advertising or not? Is it worth the money that the advertiser spent? Again, I suppose something that is memorable is better than something forgettable and something that generates brand/product awareness is better than something that does not, even if no product desire is generated. Still, shouldn’t ads create or stimulate a desire for a product or service? Otherwise, why the hell are they advertising?