One of the crudest phrases in Spanish holds the key to getting results.
Real story: I have this friend (who shall remain very anonymous). Beautiful, smart, funny. She had a ton of guys after her, of course. There was one, let’s call him Bobby, whom no one liked. We all said “too young”, “too immature”, “not a a professional”, “not wealthy” … even my friend had to recognize she didn’t like him all that much at the beginning.
But… he was always there. Took her to lunch. Took her on fun dates. Supported her on her really bad days. Brought her little gifts. Took her to breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner… in short, little by little, Bobby became part of her life.
Now? You guessed it! They live in New York, in a beautiful apartment and are raising two beautiful kids.
Prior to 1991 we all believed in “Effective Frequency”. That magical number after which a message somehow “became effective” and caused persuasion. In 1991 John Phillip Jones published his seminal “When Ads Work” and turned media on its head.
Using a huge amount of data Jones proved that the first message was, by far, the most effective in achieving results. The second message was less effective and messages 3, 4 and subsequent were basically useless. He showed how brand share increased an average of 11% by one (continuous) exposure the week before purchases and only 14% by all exposures. (Fig 1) Since each of the other exposures cost the same… you get the picture. Then he showed how very successful brands (he called them Alpha brands) had both, a greater continuity and an aggressive SOV/SOM ratio.
Continuity worked, frequency did not.
Soon, Erwin Ephrom followed with his Recency Theory –proving once again that the most effective communication was the one previous to a purchasing decision—and even Colin McDonald, the father of the “3+” had to write an article apologizing for the creation of 3+.
Today, we have dozens more channels that JP Jones could have ever imagined. Continuity/recency is more relevant and important than ever: it is important to reach our consumer before a purchasing decision is made and even more important to affect ALL purchasing decisions before they are made.
When I moved to Argentina with McCann-Erickson I went to visit our L’Oreal client. The head of marketing told me that they had decided to spend about 30% of their entire year’s budget in a 4-week period (for the techies, 4 weeks @ 400 W/GRP). When I pointed out that women did not gang up on shampoo purchases but rather spaced their purchases throughout the year replacing bottles as they got empty, he got really annoyed. However: four Elseve versions, which used a “pulse” strategy had a joint 6.6% SOM; Sedal, Unilever’s best-seller, which advertises continuously through the year, had a 22% SOM. Admitedly an over-simplification, but, considering how most of us buy products, a sensible strategy.
The phrase? El burro coge por persistente, no por bonito. (The donkey “gets the girl” by being persistent, not by being pretty”). It applies to real life. It applies to advertising.