Increasingly advertising looks to have its target experience their message or benefit compared to simply expressing it. This approach assures a degree of authenticity about the Brand and what it offers. This approach also conveys honesty that traditional messaging approaches are increasingly having difficulty doing. Consumers are getting very sceptical about advertising and thus need to be shown that certain claims are actually quite true. The funny thing is that we tend to believe certain product benefits but simply don’t want to admit it, or worse, actually don’t consciously believe them but subconsciously have bought into them.
An example where a Brand has found a way of getting people to truly believe a vanity benefit of the product was done by Beldent Gum in Argentina. The benefit of “making you look cooler” is so generic and so not believable that any Brand that claims it through advertising will most certainly be ignored if not laughed at. However, Beldent knew that those that chewed gum gave off a different appeal than those that didn’t. To demonstrate this, they held an art show at the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Buenos Aires where they “exhibited” a series of twins where one chewed gum and the other not. Each exhibit allowed the viewer answer a series of questions which probed their perception of appeal, trust, etc. of the two people in front of them. The results were astounding and brought home the point of “coolness through gum”. Have a look at the case study video.
Another powerful example of a program that allowed people to get close to experience a benefit versus simply saying it was done by the Puerto Rican Department of Corrections. With the rise in violent crimes on this tropical island, the risk of losing an entire generation of youth was fast approaching. It was important to help youngsters understand what awaited them in prison. Somehow the perception of prison life did not reflect the reality and thus prison as deterrent was not that powerful. As such the Department of Corrections took an ingenious take on getting the word out by people living it. They armed 3 prisoners with a Twitter account whose goal it was to share there prison experience with the world at large so that potential criminals would think twice before risking prison life. The real accounts of daily realities, fears, harm, living conditions, and the like made prison a lot more real and scary for young Puerto Ricans. The case study brings this to life beautifully. Have a look.