Industrial advertising - the unsubtle approach

Industrial buyers and specifiers lack culture and manners. They tear open trade journals that arrive on their desks and snort through the pages at a rate which presumes they cannot read. They look at the pictures and will only stop their boorish behaviour of tearing pages apart, usually on the wrong side, when confronted with a picture of a frontend loader or the latest in compressors or a new drill.

Possibly a cable design will also make them pause. They will look for the supplier's name and, if their interest carries them further, they will note the phone number for future reference. They will, usually in vain, also look for product specifications and even the price.

If the visual and the copy are creatively beyond simple comprehension, the buyer will brand the supplier as trying to be too clever. Funny advertisements, sexy advertisements, unsubtle reminders of how great the advertiser is, how long he has been in South Africa, how many employees he has and how he serves all communities does exactly zilch to impress the boorish buyer. Such advertising does more to boost the ego of the advertiser than to provide any kind of marketing or buying message to a buyer or specifier.

Industrial buyers generally dislike any form of advertising because they beleive that their buying behaviour is entirely rational and any advertising that does not provide product information is of little use.

Of course, advertisers and their Agencies know all this but they persist in nodding their heads wisely saying, the while, that although they know that industrial buyers are boors and will not openly be swayed by creative advertising they rationalise the continued pandering to creativity by believing that deep down in the buyer's Neanderthal-like skull lurks a psyche that not only enjoys but even correctly interprets these hidden message as powerful invitations to buy. Unfortunately, subtlety in advertising has little place in the industrial market. It is, in fact, a very expensive way of promoting a company and its products.

Those that are the most impressed with creative and very subtle message are the Agencies that devise them, followed by the advertiser and looked at from the sidelines, by the advertiser's competitors who follow the campaign with more than a little interest - and lastly and very leastly, by the buyer who wishes that all this cr.p would be scraped for more down to earth, factual advertising that may be boring to the Agency but is balm to the industrial buyer's jaded eyes.

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