Informative advertising is usually employed when companies need to launch a new product, to highlight a re-brand, or respond to criticism. Advertisers will employ this method either because consumers do not know enough about the brand to trust it, or because the brand has been damaged by a bad reputation. Whatever the reason, if executed well, informative advertising can create positive exposure and sales, as exemplified by the following campaigns.
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Dove "Real Beauty"
Unilever's brand, Dove, has ran a "real beauty" campaign. These advertisements feature women who are not models using their products. This is effective informative marketing because it not only appeals to a wider demographic of women, but it also informs the consumer about the real results they can expect from Dove products. Their website features detailed ingredient lists of all their products.
Newcastle Brown Ale
Newcastle Brown Ale broke the mould when they related their product to the real people who drink it, and the historic community in which the legendary ale was developed. A quick overview of their ad campaigns reveals a tongue-in-cheek approach featuring the peculiarities of their real fans, such as Newcastle accents, unpretentious working class bar folk and a simple assessment of how their beer is made. Their new slogan "No bollocks" is straight to the point and shows how humour and informative advertising succeed.
In the new millennium, McDonald's learned that their consumers were beginning to question the hazardous health effects of their food and ingredients. The documentary "Supersize Me" criticised McDonald's food and its effects on human health. The company decided to turn to informative advertising in response to the backlash. They now have informative commercials that address the real questions posed by their critics and customers via social media. This demonstrates how informative advertising can be effective in the wake of backlash.
When General Motor filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009, many doubted whether they would be able to repair the damage to their reputation. However, an aggressive campaign that employed both informative and competitive advertising raised them back to profitability by 2010. The aim of GM's ads were to help re-brand their new car models while educating the consumers about their cars' advantages -- especially when compared to the competition.
Pharmaceuticals and tobacco
Due to strict government regulations surrounding addictive substances, the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries display ads that have detailed lists of ingredients and effects of their products. Prescription drug ads must feature side effects prominently, and tobacco products must state that smoking causes cancer. Though not aimed at getting people to buy the product, this type of informative advertising is employed because these companies were required to do so by the law.
Jane O'Brien, BBC's business correspondent in Washington, says, "Insight selling -- offering lifestyle information about a product that is educational and informative instead of relying on hard sell," is an emerging focus in the industry." She also notes that "thought leadership," the practice of showing how a company is innovative and an expert in its field, will also emerge as a trend.
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- BBC News: Business: Insight selling: How retailers sell to us by stealth
- Business Wire: No bollocks: Newcastle Brown Ale launches new Advertising campaign
- Informative Advertising with Differentiated Products Gene M. Grossman and Carl Shapiro The Review of Economic Studies Vol. 51, No. 1 (Jan., 1984), pp. 63-81
- With a Little Help from my Enemy: Comparative Advertising as a Signal of Quality: pp. 1