BLOG: The power of advertising

My flatmate swears she is immune to the power of advertising. She says she simply buys the necessities and doesn't care who makes them, as long as they serve their purpose. When I pointed out that she was wearing a Billabong hoodie, a pair of Levi jeans and some Nike Air trainers, she changed her stance slightly and instead swore at me.


It got me thinking, are any of us safe from the power of advertising? In a time when the terms 'credit crunch' and 'recession' have become integrated into our daily conversations, companies continue to ply what cash they have into their marketing strategies in a bid to persuade you to choose their product over their competitors. The mobile industry is no exception. You only have to watch an episode of Coronation Street (I'm more an EastEnders man myself - but for the purpose of making this argument I had to come up with a program with ad breaks) for it to be interrupted halfway through with the latest iPhone commercial or operator tariff.


Yet it's not just your TV that is screaming 'buy me! buy me!' I caught a black cab the other day. I say 'black' cab, it was in fact purple, due to a huge Yahoo! Mobile logo emblazoning the side of it. Then there are the giant billboards that decorate our skylines and no venue is safe from a spot of branding. There's the O2 Arena, and Birmingham's huge exhibition centre, formerly known as the NEC, is now known as the LG Arena (named before it released its handset of the same name – coincidence?).


But does it work? Are you really likely to be watching your favourite band at the O2 Arena, when you suddenly think to yourself, 'do you know what? When I get home after this brilliant musical bonanza, I must remember to feed the cat and then change networks to O2?' OK, perhaps that's a tad flippant – I'm sure there are many marketing types out there far cleverer and more astute than I am, who could point to all manner of figures and statistics that show branding such as this does work and they're probably right, even if it is subconscious.


Samsung and Vodafone will certainly hope it does. Both have just announced a joint sponsorship of what is being billed as The Big Game 2, a Guinness (see it's not just the mobile market) Premiership rugby clash between Harlequins and Wasps. Samsung has been quite open about how it hopes its presence at the game will help push its smartphone agenda to the very audience it is are aiming for.


Presumably the idea is that a rugby crowd is full of the sort of professionals who need a smartphone in their lives. I must admit, the idea of any spectator at the match, held at Twickenham on 27 December, being able to take their program to a retail shop to purchase the Vodafone 360 Samsung H1 handset for a reduced rate seems like a good idea.


So despite the tough times we currently find ourselves in, it would appear that advertising and marketing campaigns are here to stay. Some of us may be more affected than others, but perhaps none of us are completely immune to the power of advertising.


Anyway this blog writing is tiring work. I'm off to buy a can of Coca Cola and a KitKat Chunky. There are of course other brands of coke and chocolate bars available.


Tell us what you think. Have you consciously brought a phone or changed network as a result of an advert you saw? If so which one? What's your favourite mobile related advert? What's your least favourite?

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