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?

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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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