Are Ads Successful If They Don’t Make You Want the Advertised Product

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?

About David S. Atkinson

David S. Atkinson enjoys typing about himself in the third person, although he does not generally enjoy speaking in such a fashion. However, he is concerned about the Kierkegaard quote "Once you label me you negate me." He worries that if he attempts to define himself he will, in fact, nullify his existence...
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