Douglas Holt’s and Bob Garfield’s advertising strategies
The similarities and differences of the Holt’s and Garfield’s advertising strategies as the base for effective advertising principles.
What is the role of advertising in the modern market?
What is the contribution of Douglas Holt and Bob Garfield to the development of advertising?
Why it is said that Holt’s and Garfield’s advertising philosophies different from each other?
Douglas Holt developed the notion of cultural branding, which became a completely new branding model, but was simply the combination of all the previous models with a stronger message; Bob Garfield empathized the meaning of the tools used to advertise different products.
Douglas Holt’s and Bob Garfield’s advertising strategies
Table Of contents:
2. Holt’s philosophy
3. Garfield’s philosophy
Introduction: Advertisements have always played an outstanding role for any existing company all over the globe. Thousand of creative people have dedicated their work to the creation of new ads that would make the customers turn to their products. Nevertheless, the main task is not just to get the customer’s attention but also to deter it. Advertising will never stop playing its significant role in the trading process of any country. It is often called the “engine of trading”. Advertising does not simply attract consumers it works for become an integral part of the contemporary society. Each advertisement has its own purpose, a group of people it is designed to attract. Every person whatsoever connected to the sphere of advertising knows the names of Bob Garfield and Douglas Holt. These two people did not create any absolutely new philosophies of advertising but owing to the critical analysis of the existing advertising patterns they managed to gather the experience of hundred of companies and made a “code of advertising regularities” from it. They penetrated the system of advertising and showed the reader of their books the life of advertising from inside, revealing its invisible mechanisms. Douglas Holt developed the notion of cultural branding, which became a completely new branding model, but was simply the combination of all the previous models with a stronger message; Bob Garfield empathized the meaning of the tools used to advertise different products. Both of them see advertising as a social phenomenon and only its social depth can bring decent and even great results and high sales.
2. Holt’s philosophy
The era of non-alternative and aggressive advertisements back in the post-war times is far behind. People have countless possibilities to choose the goods they need. But what is that makes them choose these of those goods? Douglas Holt has his own vision of this vital problem. He enters the terms “iconic bran” and a “cultural icon”. A cultural icon according to Holt is “a person or a thing regarded as a symbol, especially of a culture or movement”, and an iconic brand is an “identity brand, which approaches the identity value of a cultural icon”[Holt, 11]. What Holt truly means is that in their everyday lives people have certain symbols they feel secure to rely on. If the connections to these symbols are very strong then the product representing these cultural icons may stay on top for a long period of time and become a product of a national “scale”. Holt outlines that the product itself does not necessarily to be of the highest quality to become a cultural brand, but it has to carry an idea that is valuable for the audience. Holt’s message is that most preferable products achieved their positions because people “accept icons [of these products] as symbols for valued idea”[Holt, 2].
Holt got this information from the observation that the most popular brands all over the world have achieved their success basing on similar principles. Therefore, the products that represent these brands do not advertise themselves, but they advertise a “myth” to the society. It does not truly matter what type of product is advertised until it has its own myth which appeals to the audience. Why do people need these brand-myths? “Brands help them to express who they want to be” – answers Douglas Holt [Holt, 4]. So the basic rule that comes out of Holt’s observations is that a brand in order to be successful needs a powerful myth. One of the brightest examples is the Coca-Cola success that created a “national pride” myth during the World War II, and a myth of “healing the racial divide” and also the introduced the “creative boutiques” myth. Holt implies that the sales depend upon “how well their myth responds to the tensions in the national culture”[Holt, 23]. So the companies like Coca-Cola went far ahead the mind-share branding, emotional branding and viral branding, by simply using one of these mentioned above advertising patterns as a base. The American nation needed an utopia; a hope that everything is going to be all right and Coca-cola provided it to the nation, creating the most powerful myth ever. This new principle presented by Holt is a revolutionary observation that can become a “manual” to absolute success in the countries market. The company needs to adjust to the nation’s audience and address the audience that is the most dominant at the moment, that is the reason flexibility in feeling the audience is of an extreme value for advertising. Holt believes that these myths are the key to the mind of any audience because it has to be the “expression of the audience’s aspired identity”[Holt, 8]. In other words, American will drink coca-cola not because of its true taste, but because its taste will be identified with the “American dream” of being successful, freely driving a car, singing Christmas carol and drinking coca-cola sitting in front of the television. According to Holt creativity is always the key to the creation of such strong cultural branding, because it is creativity that finds appropriate contradictions in the society that need to be put into the myth. The knowledge of ideology becomes of an even greater importance in the myth. Holt assumes that any images, music or humor is acceptable as long as they do not go against the myth main idea and do not contradict the message of the myth. He believed that the image could be the most helpful thing to create the myth. The top secret of advertising seen in Douglas Holt’s book “How brand become icons” lies in finding the “ritual action for experience the myth when using the product”[Holt, 13]. In other words the myth has to fit everyday lives of people in general and individual biography is particular.
3. Garfield’s philosophy
Bob Garfield made a research as deep as the one conducted by Douglas Holt. Nevertheless Garfield’s work “And now a few words from me” has certain principal divergences with Holt’s philosophy. Garfield propagandizes a strategy based on novelty. Believing that it is more to know why a customer should buy a good, than how the good can be presented. In order to support his assumption he uses the advertisement of Infinity that had no car at all on the screen. It portrayed a scene of beautiful nature and no car at all. The image of “trees in the distance, rutting in the breeze” is what expressed the idea – why to buy it. According to Garfield the most important principle of advertising is connection with the audience, any audience in an “attempt to seize their imaginations not with slick product shots but with ideas. Or at least with the illusion of ideas”[Garfield, 12]. Garfield emphasizes the existing rules of advertising are to observe them, but not always to follow them. The product itself is not of such a great importance as many companies give to it. A product has to perform an idea in the first place and the means it achieves the delivery of the idea does not truly matter. Bob Garfield does not consider creativity to by the “driving force” of advertising, as a matter of fact he says that the advertisement “is not to be original”, because originality is a very changeable, inconstant and what is more important - very questionable. From his opinions the biggest companies such as Nike, Volkswagen and others “didn’t succeed because they were original; they succeeded because they were smart [Garfield, 32]. Smart means using the right tools and make the advertisement a handiwork. If the tools do not guarantee 100% responsibility for delivering the explicit message to the audience – than the tools are just not right. Garfield says that the audience is not different, but it requires new tools and these tools have to be based on the “why” principles. Garfield destroys the notion of creativity and originality because he implies that almost every advertisement may be viewed as plagiarism and he views the main task of the companies to make something new and improved from these plagiarized themes. The only rule is that the messages should not be confusing by no means as it was with the Burger King’s “Sometimes you’ve gotta break rules”. The rule that Garfield claim to work for all advertisement is that “no advertising has that right to make the viewer shudder”[Garfield, 110].
Boob Garfield considers that each product has a target audience basing on the idea that the product carries. Very often the idea that make the product popular has nothing to do with the product itself (example: “We are the number two. We try harder” – created by Avis). Garfield does not advertisement to be a complicated process, but the ability to feel the changes in the audience and to delivery of the idea 100% of the time it works for this audience.For Garfield, the idea of the product is the most important part. The right idea can be achieved only through a clear message that is not confusing and very familiar to the audience. Therefore he does not consider creativity to be the necessary fro a good advertisement. According to Garfield it is not so important what a person sees, but what he understands as the true reason to purchase a product.
4. Conclusion: In a sense advertising is analyzed as specific information that is being delivered by different structures to the mass consciousness. The major key to the mass consciousness is the right values according to Garfield and the creation of a cultural icon according to Holt. Advertising does not posses only the informative function but also a simulative one, too. It increases the sales market, brings new buyers, and that naturally raises the incomes of the manufacturers. Without advertisements a company will not function at its full power, will not get high incomes. The contemporary market representatives will not survive without advertisings. But what advertising should be like? According to Garfield and Holt it has to a high-quality advertising will have strong ties with the audience and will not be rejected. A correct advertisement allows a person to be orientated in modern tendencies of the contemporary society. If we gather Holt’s and Garfield notions of advertising, then an advertisement has to make a firm statement that is very close to the minds of potential consumers, be close to their culture, have strong emotional ties with the customers and correspond to the ideas of the target group. Basically saying the product does not simply have to satisfy the physical needs but the moral and cultural needed. Advertising needs to help people “to express whom they want to be”, to “experience a myth” while using a product!!!