Lumen recently teamed up with MAD//Fest to host a webcast on whether people give a sh*t about your ads with the wonderfully level-headed Nick Steel of Nomad Foods. If you missed the session, you can watch it here.

So what’s the answer, do people really give a sh*t about your ads? Drum roll…Not really, but clever marketers can buck the trend. 

First, the bad news. People are very good at avoiding ads. When they do look at them, they tend to glance at them quickly rather than savour them slowly.

As a result of this patchy attention, communication of all those lovely ‘reasons to believe’ and ‘calls to action’ is also patchy. It’s all very System 1 rather than System 2. 

But once you know about the reality of attention, you can do something about it. Nick offered sound and practical advice to drive ad attention including:

  1. Keep things simple – because people don’t have time to engage with complex messages
  2. Keep things visual – because people don’t have the time to read long sentences
  3. Keep things consistent – it may seem repetitive to you, but your audience won’t have seen this stuff half as much as you have
  4. Keep brand assets to the fore – they are the things that will trigger a ‘system 1’ response 
  5. Match the message to the media – the different media work very differently, so don’t try an fit a TV ads-worth of messaging into a banner or a Facebook ad

So advertising works, but probably not in the way we think it works, or perhaps the way we want it to work.

It’s not persuasive, but it does drive salience and mental availability – and that’s enough to drive brand choice and sales. You don’t need anyone to give a sh*t about your advertising, you just need it to work. 

Please get in touch if you would like us to help you get an ‘unfair share of attention’ for either your media buying or your creative development.