Scientific Advertising: Picture This
Branding sprouted when big companies began producing consistent quality products and required something to set them apart that wasn’t quite the product itself. Here is that history in brief, written for The Atlantic Monthly by Marc De Swaan Arons:
“In the 1950s, consumer packaged goods companies like Procter and Gamble, General Foods and Unilever developed the discipline of brand management, or marketing as we know it today, when they noticed the quality levels of products being offered by competitors around them improve. A brand manager would be responsible for giving a product an identity that distinguished it from nearly indistinguishable competitors.”
“This required an understanding of the target consumer and what we call a ‘branded proposition’ that offered not only functional but also emotional value. Over time, the emotional value would create a buffer against functional parity. As long as the brand was perceived to offer superior value to its competitors, the company offering the brand could charge a little more for its products …”
Note, the job of the brand manager wasn’t to increase sales. That was an eventual result, not the immediate goal.
Hopkins is far more practical: “Pictures in advertising are very expensive. Not in cost of good art work alone, but in the cost of space. From one-third to one-half of an advertising campaign is often staked on the power of the pictures …”
“... Mail order advertisers, as we have said, have pictures down to a science. Some use large pictures, some small, some omit pictures entirely. A noticeable fact is that none of them uses expensive art work. Be sure that all these things are done for reasons made apparent by results.”
Listen to Hopkins — you don’t need expensive photo shoots, graphic design or even viral video. You just need good old fashioned sales if you really want to make money. Here follows a litany of Claude Hopkins’ pictorial advice, much of it at odds with your marketing manager, and certainly the design team.