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Substance, Experience, Care & Surprise: David Dahan shares elements that make ad likeable

e4m Screenage 2020: On the first day, David Dahan, Worldwide Managing Director, Ogilvy & Managing Director, WPP, spelt out how to navigate the world of anti-ad blocking

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Nov 20, 2020 9:37 AM
david dhan

The dissonance of ads screaming for attention has now become a big pain point for brands as customers are reluctant to such force-fed promotions. While the anti-ad world sentiment may make brand messaging tough, there are ways to address the issue. David Dahan, Worldwide Managing Director, Ogilvy & Managing Director, WPP, decoded the ways to deal with the situation as he delivered a session during the first day of e4m Screenage Mobile Marketing Virtual Conference on Thursday. He spoke on the topic, ‘Overcoming challenges in an increased anti-ad world’.

Dahan’s session took us through the rulebook marketers and agencies should follow to make advertising less intrusive than it is known to be.

Starting off the talk, Dahan shared some data and research on ‘global ad-blocking behaviour’. “The top motivations for ad-blocking are: There are too many ads, ads are annoying or irrelevant, and ads are too intrusive. People are feeling too bombarded with ads nowadays,” he said.

Dahan then spoke about how consumers who are blocking ads get their information on brands and products. “Firstly, they, which is 39% of people, find it on search. Secondly, 33% find from ads on TV, and the third way, which is much expected, is word of mouth, and is pretty much likely to stay the case for quite some time as it is the Nirvana of communications. TV is interesting because it is a known channel and therefore people know how to react if the ad is not interesting; they may continue with their housework. If it is interesting they may dive in. Search is also a good way to navigate the opportunities to do most of the work right away impactfully.”

In the current mobile marketing environment, there are about 550M+ smartphone users in India and about 77% of these people are online 5 hours per day. “The first choice, where most of the ad blocking is happening, is on the mobile device which is a gateway to the online world,” remarked Dahan.

But why do people block ads? “People are anti-noise and anti-intrusion. They like advertising when it is playing the role it should play not when it isn’t. The more you are bombarded with ads the more they will react negatively towards it,” Dahan said

Talking about the solution for the situation, Dahan commented, “On one side, you have promotions, banners, etc where you are constantly bombarded, and the other side, you have an ad like ours done for Dove by Ogily UK and Ogily Toronto celebrating the courage of frontline workers in the first breakout of Covid. The consumers will likely be interested to receive an ad that can cut through and draw attention.”

Dhan shared an acronym that would help marketers make sure that they fight against noise, intrusion and make sure that consumers like and enjoy advertising. The acronym he shared was ‘SECS’ (Substance, Experience, Care and Surprise).

“A lot of people call Substance as purpose. It doesn’t need to be a big purpose, but it is just that in a world of superficiality, right now, we need to provide more depth in the communication process and point of view. Experience is providing something more rounded so that when you invite people into your world it is interesting to them and have an integrated approach. The third dimension is Care: People need to feel that they matter. Finally, Surprise, which will make the consumer want to talk and share about it,” explained Dahan.

Driving his point further, Dhan showed campaigns from Ponds, Vodafone India, etc that touched each of these dimensions of SECS through the messaging and approach.

“Activism has gained prominence. It has become very active for people to be for or against something and voice their opinion on social media. When brands are communicating, they need to make sure that they are listening to their audiences’ standpoint and considering them. Listen to people’s voice and create a positive direction towards the brand,” Dahan remarked.

Dahan said, “Overcoming challenges in an anti-ad world is by creating anti-noise and anti-intrusion ads. Use the dimensions of SECS and combine it with the brand’s own personal ambitions. You need to do less, better and listen to your consumers more. The messaging at the end should generate an action from the consumer’s end.”

On a parting note, Dahan left with the message that, “We should not worry about ad blocking because worrying about ad blocking is distracting the real worry that everyone should have, which is to do relevant and interesting work. At the end, that is the best recipe for success.”

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