Yvo Wonders: A lesson in creativity

The image of Asian city centers I had before traveling to Asia was dominated by streets covered with a massive number of people, extremely busy traffic scenes and billboards or advertisements everywhere. And although I obviously can’t speak for all city centers in Asia, this image has solidly been confirmed. It truly doesn’t matter what time of the day it is, the swarms of people, kamikaze-like motorbike drivers and billboards with English language mistakes on them will be there. But can we learn something from this I hear you ask? Yes! Because with so many people and such vibrant city scenes, it is a tough task to stand out and get your marketing message across. It asks for an out-of-the-box approach.

Earlier, I shared my journey to Asia and how I am trying to translate the inspiration I get from the cultural differences into new ways to look at marketing. This blog post is the second part of this series.

In Asia the billboard and advertisement-level of city streets have reached a level of saturation where it has become very hard to stand out. The overwhelming number of marketing messages make it very hard to get the message across, if the consumer is even capable of remembering anything with the amount if information coming his way. This is exemplary not only for print promotion in Asia, but for the marketing industry as a whole. One of the key challenges of marketing today is to become the purple cow that draws attentions and makes people turn around and look.

So how do you stand out in Asia? I came across some unusual examples that I would like to share with you. Examples that we can use for inspiration to create out-of-the-box marketing campaigns ourselves.

Flashy promotion team on ‘banner-bikes’

Promoting milk on my popcorn bag, why not?

Sponsoring on the front rows of the cinema

Partner promotion on placemats in a restaurant

On the overhead luggage compartments in the airplane

What can we learn from this?

1. It’s different

First of all: I have never seen these ways of doing marketing before and they were surely different from billboards or other traditional ways of promotion. Trial and error is the beginning of every working strategy, so try something different!

2. They lead to a surprise

I came across these examples at moments I didn’t expect them. They were a surprise to me, and even made me smile. I believe that you would too, when you come across a banner-bike peloton. The most important part here is that in order to stand out, you have to remain innovative and creative. Billboards probably have been an effective way of doing marketing at some point. But the more billboards appear, the less frowns it will produce. At that moment, it’s time to take back the lead and return to surprise consumers again and again with something new. Never stand still.

3. Part of an experience

Finally, something that most of the marketing messages I remembered had in common, is that they were part of an experience. In the cinema, during the flight or while eating a delicious breakfast. Scientific research shows that the context of the promotion medium has an impact on the message processing of consumers.

Pelsmacker, Geuens & Anckaert (2002) give several explanations for this phenomenon. For one, the positive evaluation of the context can be transferred (or misattributed) to the ad, as a result of which the ad is also positively evaluated. Which we also see in e.g. global sport events, where big companies pay huge amounts of money to showcase their brand.

Next to that, knowledge structures (associative networks) associated with good moods are generally more extensive and better integrated than structures that are associated with bad moods. This means that people are more likely to process the information in the marketing message when they are in a positive mood.

So next time you brainstorm about a new marketing campaign, think a little bit more out-of-the-box. There’s still a long way to go before we reach the banner-bike level.

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