Control as a Behavioral Insight in Automotive Advertising
January 25, 2008
Every 6 months an advertising agency or focus group leader will tell me that what my customer's want is more control. They want control over their lives, what they buy, the price the pay. I'm sure they also want control of the weather, control of their spouse, their children and everything else in their lives that doesn't quite live up to expectations.
The point is that control is a weak word. Of course every product has the potential to give us more control, the problem is that it isn't helpful when putting together a piece of communications. It might be your net impression, but not what should be communicated...or at least used cautiously.
It reminds me of a great example in automotive advertising. Men believe that stick shift transmissions provide greater control of the driving experience. Women (in general, sorry for any sexist overtones) in general believe that an automatic transmission gives them more control over the driving experience since they don't have to interrupt what they are doing or thinking about such as tending to kids in the back seat. To use the word control generally doesn't paint a clear picture and instead relies on additional language or context to make the communication clear.
While I'm talking about cars it reminds me of another quick story. When selling high performance cars if you advertise that a car lets you go from zero to 60 in one less second than you could before, men get all excited and your wife will think you are feeding your ego. But if you position better performance as getting you home faster so that you can help around the house, the perception quickly changes. Sometimes it is all in the story telling.
I've been meaning to write this down for weeks. Cross that one off the list.