Personalized Advertising for a Young, Internet-Savvy Vancouver Audience

no trumpeting

This article is contributed by Annie Harrington.

Over the years, I’ve learned people love it when you talk to them, engage them, and relate to their interests. It’s basic interpersonal communication. What they don’t like is when you talk at them.

In advertising, a similar thing occurs. When an advertisement “speaks” to individuals or groups, they take notice. Conversely, when advertisements “speak” at people, they’ll still notice the ad and maybe remember it, but their reaction will likely be automatically negative. Many ads I’ve had the experience of interacting with tend to do this. They talk at people, throwing phrases, imagery, and various messages to whichever eyes or ears will take in the message.

They’ll choose to ignore or accept the message.

Regardless of the choice, they saw the ad. The message the advertiser wanted to communicate was communicated. I can’t count the sheer amount of advertising I’ve seen or heard in an average day and at the end of every day, I certainly can’t remember any of it. Then again, I usually have no interest in remembering any of it. Who does?

Many younger people, especially the more internet-focused, social media savvy, who spend too much time in front of a screen, can take measures to block advertising. I’ve downloaded web browser applications which block a vast majority of ads, including video ads and banner ads. It’s gotten to the point that when I’m working on my computer all day, I’ll see less than ten ads, if that.

The reason I block the ads is simple. They’re annoying. They’re generally ugly and add clutter to my user experience. I can’t stand ugly ads and I most definitely can’t stand clutter. However, people have the right to make money and in some cases the only way they can do that is to advertise. They do it via banner ads online, posters and billboards around the city, and vocally on the radio and visually on the TV. So, how can they capture my eyes and ears, and the eyes and ears of the people whose lives are heavily influenced by what goes on, online?

Show them something they’re familiar with, and not just peripherally familiar with, but tangibly. We’ve entered the era of social advertising, brought on by the overwhelming presence of social media. It’s important to integrate this fact into print advertising, which still remains very important, especially in metro areas such as Vancouver where foot and bike traffic is heavy. Printed posters and banners continue to be an effective means of advertising, and they can survive the move into the socially-driven era if they can “speak” to the people who have made the web an integral part of their lives.

Follow Online Trends

Ads can also evolve to catch eyes in a non-repulsive way, that at the end of the day, there’s a chance it’ll be remembered, and maybe if it really speaks loud and clear, pictures will be taken with smartphones and posted it online. Ads can utilize current internet trends to accomplish this. These trends can usually be found by browsing popular social media sites for a few hours. Take the trend of steam punk, for example. It’s defined by strong brown and gold colors, accompanied by gears and other moving parts, with a very industrial art deco look. It exists in art, costumes, and countless other creations. People who spend hours a day online and consistently use social media sites have more than likely run across something steam punk.

steam punk style

So, why not advertise using the steam punk aesthetic? Make an ad pop in the style, with the browns and golds, the metals and the hand-crafted wood appearance, and you’ll capture plenty of attention. You’ll not only catch the attention of people who recognize the style, but others who have yet to run across it and will look out of sheer intrigue. They’ll take a pic and share it with their friends online.

My point is, take something popular online and run with it, but don’t try to make it your own. As art and as something embraced by online communities, it belongs to everyone, whether its steam punk, pixel art, cats, or the tons of other ways people express themselves and share ideas online. It’s important when using art styles and trends with internet influence to be respectful to sources. Pay homage and make it an acknowledgement. Speak to your audience and the advertisement can easily become a success in the current era of communication.

Author Bio: Annie Harrington is a small business owner, writer, and amateur photographer. In her free time she enjoys writing about ways other business owners can positively impact their brand image with unique poster printing and custom banners.

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