Is there value for money in new advertising trends?

Tuesday March 30 2021

There is a lot of experimentation and creativity taking place as companies try to maximise advertising. PHOTO/courtesy

By Roland D. Nasasira

The new form of advertising is characterised by dramatic and storytelling components compounded in creativity and persuasiveness, with viewers sometimes singing along when the advert sticks in their minds.

Industry experts say this type of advertising attracts consumers’ attention.

According to Frank Muthusi, the chairman of Uganda Advertising Association, creativity is one of the biggest factors driving the change in advertising tactics. Adverts compel a potential customer either to try out a product or service or boost sales.

“Consumers are getting tired of functional marketing and it is the reason some advertisers try to give their customers some entertainment value in an advert before getting to the main message,” he says.

An industry player who declined to be quoted agrees with Muthusi, reasoning that for your business or product advert to have attention, it should be relatable because the same target audience you intend to woo receives a lot of content from elsewhere, unlike before where you would tune to local television to watch an advert.

He explains: “Mediocre adverts cannot catch or attract people’s attention. If you are advertising a business or product, you are competing with adverts the likes of other businesses on Snapchat and other kinds of social media.”


Other advertising tactics widely used, Muthusi adds, are endorsements. Companies mostly use popular celebrities who command a high degree of recognition, trust, respect, or awareness amongst the public to market their products or services.

Celebrities, Muthusi says, advertise a product by lending their name or image to promote a product or service.

Although digital or online is a communication medium, it also acts as a new tactic for advertising through email, content marketing, search platforms and social media.

Other tactics or mechanics of bringing the idea to life are celebrating, searching for conflict, daring to defy and fighting for a cause among others. These are some of the tactics or tools that agencies use to unpack their messages.

He adds, “We recommend a ratio of 60:40 – emotional connection vs sales focus. The more people can connect with your brand, the more likely they are to purchase whatever you’re selling.”

Affordability is another factor driving advertisers to adapt to the new tricks. Affordability has also influenced the emergency of digital advertising that seems to be a widely used method now.

But to meet different tastes and preferences, one has to deploy different media planning tactics.  

Mr Muthusi adds: “Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the advertising landscape has changed. We have seen the growth of radio, the rise of television given the lockdown, and the shift from analog to digital. Online or digital platforms advertising has also risen. Platforms like TikTok have taken Kampala by storm. Did you know that Pinterest is the second-largest social media platform used in Uganda?”

Mr Muhereza Kyamutetera, the managing director, The Firm Limited, a communications company, says for any advert to make an impact, it must be registered in the viewer’s or listener’s mind.

For instance, you could choose to go the functionality direction where you make it relevant to the person listening or watching. You can go for a comic advert to make sure viewers laugh. When a viewer laughs about something, there is a sense of happiness that is associated with a brand they had the laughter from.

“When crafting such an advert, you need to be careful in terms of balancing the comic effect and the message in the advert. There are adverts viewers will remember but no takeaway in terms of what you are trying to sell. Whereas the style works, care should also be taken to the percentage of the advert you are dedicating to the comic relief and message. People can easily laugh and forget what the advert was about. It is best to test the advert with the public before running it to see what people pick out,” Kyamutetera advises.    

Value for money

The dramatic advert is easily perceived as an expensive method because of the different characters involved. No wonder it is the big giants in the advertising industry that usually take it on.

However, for any company to accept or adapt a particular business decision, there should be a return on investment.

Without quoting a price to validate a return on investment, Mr Muhereza says such advertising is certainly an enticing way of doing business.

“On average a person needs to be exposed to the adverts about 16 times a day for them to appreciate what the product or service is about. Continued exposure compels consumers to buy,” he says.

He adds: “In advanced markets, companies advertise for brand visibility and presence without necessarily expecting a return on investment.”

He, however, cautions that much as it is trending, the advertiser should be careful about overdoing it.

“If you overdo a joke or become too comical in an advert, your audience might miss the message,” he says.

Other tactics

Web banner advertising; A web banner or banner advert is a form of advertising on the World Wide Web delivered by an ad server. This form of online advertising entails embedding an advertisement into a web page to attract traffic to a website by linking to the website of the advertiser.

Mobile advertising appears on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets using wireless connections. Companies advertise through text adverts via SMS or through banner advertisements that appear embedded on a mobile website.

- Bandwagon advertising is a form of propaganda that uses persuasion to convince people to buy a product or service to avoid being left out.

- Promotional advertising is an activity or several activities where sales of a service or product are reduced such as price discounts, “buy an item, get another one free” offers. This is usually short-lived.

- Pixel advertising also known as tracking pixels, are these tiny snippets of code that allow you to gather information about visitors on a website—how they browse, what type of adverts they click on, and so on. This behaviour data helps you send the user paid adverts that are likely to be most interesting to them.

-Contextual advertising is a form of targeted advertising for advertisements appearing on websites or other media, such as content displayed in mobile browsers.

Brands that try and connect emotionally with their customers tend to win the hearts and minds of their target customers.

Ten years ago, the medium of advertising was limited to platforms such as television and radio. Mobile phone penetration was also low because not so many people could afford them. Lately, there has been a complete turnaround and the competition for public attention is high because of various innovative advertising platforms that have come up.

Challenges faced by businesses

Industry players say challenges faced by different businesses vary from one business to another and industry to another. There are businesses dealing with communication challenges and there are those dealing with pricing hardships.