Marketing In 2019: Beauty

Marketing In 2019: Beauty

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Supposedly, a single person is exposed to 5,000 ads in any given day. Separating your outreach from the rest of the pack starts with the simple, but difficult, act of resolving to make something beautiful.

Aesthetics’ complicated history may be outside the purview of a simple blog, so let’s settle on a quick and dirty definition. If something is beautiful, typically that thing expresses or invokes unity, harmony, proportion, wholeness, or radiance.

Beauty is pre-rational, meaning you know a painting or a song is beautiful before you can explain why. Often times you may never verbalize it, but the instinct is there speaking to you. Beauty spans the gap of the tangible. People have different affinities, so while one person may find harmony and proportion in a sculpture, another may find it in something immaterial like a math equation.

Back to advertising.    

Impacting people takes more than “being different.” It takes the right kind of “different,” less gimmick and more substance. In turn, that substance needs to be supported by harmony with the manner of presentation.  

Given the choice between a Powerpoint presented in Comic Sans or an animated video containing the same information, which would you watch? How about a live stream over Facebook versus a multi-camera stream from a professional studio? If the content is the same, who would bother paying attention to the less-appealing version of anything? And if your product is good enough to buy, why would anyone believe you if you can’t present that product attractively?

Apple is excellent at this. Aesthetics has always been a strong point for the tech giant, accounting for a large part of their unprecedented success selling products at such outlandish prices. To promote their AirPod, Apple created a piece that appealed to beauty in three ways:

First, it embraces and encourages joy. Emotion is a staple of advertising, and beautiful people doing beautiful things in beautiful places encourages a yearning in audiences. Ads need to make the viewer believe in the possibility that they can feel that same joy.

Second, it’s incredibly well-choreographed and scored, which would be adequate all on its own. The ad takes it to the next level when it chooses to pursue its ethereal concept  without the use of CGI. Using all practical effects creates complexity and richness, an inherent element of the human experience.

Third, it uses a simple but complete narrative. Not all ads are narrative ads, but all sales are built around the premise of not having a thing and then by some means getting that thing, and that process is a journey. A journey is a story. If you’re going to invite your audience on a journey, make it one with a beginning, a middle, and an ending working together in unity.

The most common reaction to beauty’s entreatment is “sounds expensive.” Yes, it can be. That’s the exchange being made. When your ad inserts itself into a person’s attention, it’s making a very basic appeal: “give up a little of your time and notice this business.” This is quickly followed by “give up a little of your money and spend with this business.” If the goal is to extract time and money from the customer, time and money are a required sacrifice on behalf of the business.

Ask any artist if beauty comes free or cheap. Paintings, symphonies, and monuments are all making common promotion across the fabric of history. Beauty appeals to the soul, and that’s the only thing that stands the tests of time.

Hunter Smith