I haven’t been in the advertising world for very long. I started toying with the idea as a kid, because some ads were just really, really cool, and I wondered what it would be like to make them. I’ve had lots of discussions with wild, crazy, and partly sane ad people, and they’ve given me the same advice. They say advertising isn’t about selling. It’s about making the client aware of your product. If the customer knows who you are, they are more likely to buy from you if they randomly bump into your product. Using this approach, advertisers do whatever they need to get your attention, whether it’s by jazzing you or annoying you.

I’ve complained about a couple of ads that just rubbed me the wrong way, and the response is always the same – you’re talking about it, which means you noticed it. If it hadn’t moved you, then we as advertisers have failed. Well, I don’t know about that, but, for example, there’s a radio ad for East Africa Data handlers that makes me want to scratch, and not in a good way. Still, I know the name of the company now, so if I ever have data issues, I’ll go straight there. So … win?

Another ad that pisses me off is the Vaseline for Men ad on radio, the one with the rough hands. God! But hey, at least I now know there’s a Vaseline product made for men’s hands. On the other hand, no matter how much I get happy when I hear the Airtel radio ad, I’m not going to buy from them because I already have a line. And no matter how much I love Richot ads, I’m a poor drinker, so they get zero business from me. So I suppose Wambua wins and the Voice Chick loses?

There’s this very frightening billboard on the Madaraka roundabout. It has a crumpled up piece of paper and the copy reads ‘Don’t let the devil do this to your life. Get up and go to church.’ *Shudder* I could – and have – argued over that billboard. It’s wrong on so many levels. But I now know that there’s a House of Grace church somewhere in that neighbourhood, so it worked, no?

I suppose if your ad is memorable enough to get the clients to notice it, then your work is done. Still, I’m a copywriter in an ad agency now, and while my bosses [and clients] would probably be happy with sales regardless of how we got them, I’d hate to be known as ‘the girl who wrote that annoying radio ad.’

In other news, happy birthday little brother. Just so you know, you are adored.

And as your niece would say ... ā™« Hiyo ni keeeeki siyo ugaliiiii ā™« Twakupeeeenda kama chiiipsiiiii ā™«



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