From the Blog

Combating Consumer’s Resistance to Creative Advertising

Inception made hundreds of millions of dollars off of its mind-bending story, all-star cast, and beautiful visuals.  But the idea of inception is captivating and has a lot in common with the advertising industry.

John Hegarty, owner of Bartle Bogle Hegarty and a creative director known all around the world said, “A brand is the most valuable piece of real estate in the world: a
corner of someone’s mind.”  Advertising competes for the consumer’s attention so much so that they want to occupy a corner of their mind.  If they can occupy a corner of their potential client’s mind, that potential client is going to remember their message and think back to them in the future.

Mind games.  Sound familiar?  In the movie Inception there are literal corners of people’s minds. The extractors enter your dreams where the contents of your mind are organized into places with houses, skyscrapers, shops, safes and everything else you could imagine.  The opening scene depicts Leonardo DiCaprio running around someone’s dream looking for the corner of their mind that holds something he wants.  Just like Leo, advertisers want to get to some particular corner of your mind.

Subtle messages. Now how about the idea of inception itself?  In the film it means to enter someone’s dream and plant an idea in it so subtly that the target thinks they came up with the idea themselves.  This in turn gives them an impulse to act upon that idea.  That is exactly what advertisers want to do!  Advertisers want to urge you to action. The end goal of advertising is for you to buy a product or service.  Advertisements don’t want to just tell you go buy a product though, so they take more subtle, creative approaches.

Resistance.  In the movie, people train their minds to fight against others jumping into their dreams and performing inception.  These manifest in the forms of personal armies that hunt down the intruders.  In the same way that people in the movie can build up immunity to inception, consumers build immunity to advertising.  Advertising is so present in our lives that sometimes we don’t even notice it or we don’t actually take in its messages.  That combined with technology like TiVo, which allows you to skip commercials, shows consumer’s increasing resistance to advertisement.

But that is what makes advertiser’s jobs so exciting!  We get to combat that resistance with creativity.  We try to create things so interesting that you won’t mind that it is advertising.  We fight the mundane, dull, and ordinary messages and give the consumer content that flies through their ad-blocking defenses, getting a client’s message out there.

If you haven’t watched Inception in awhile, you should.  It is still a spectacular movie, years after its release, and maybe you’ll notice a few other ways it connects with advertising.  One final thought; if Inception is like advertising, when the film makers were advertising for the movie would that be like a dream within a dream?  Whoa…inception.