Is your Marketing Message on Target?

imageBelieve it or not, I love watching television commercials. I’m serious. Television commercials are not only fascinating, but entertaining as well. For the business owner, it’s also free education. Please allow me to explain this through a couple of examples.

Example 1: Warm Up

Pick up a magazine right now and finger yourself to an advertisement without closely looking at it yet. Or, as you are undoubtedly in front your computer right now, randomly search the web for any commercial website but don’t click the link yet.

After a moment of silent pause, look at the advertisement or the website you selected for 10-15 seconds.

Now look away and immediately ask yourself:  Deep down in your heart, what thought first crossed your mind when you saw the ad or website? Do these initial thoughts align with what you believe the copywriter intended? If the copywriter asked you to help brainstorm a creative sequel for the ad or webpage, what would you advise? What elements play the most important or least important role in your impression (color, shapes, images, wording, etc)?

The above questions constitute the very same key questions brand managers at Fortune 500 companies ask themselves when they evaluate their advertising. In the marketing department of my former employer, we called this the NOSE framework.

Simply explained, the NOSE framework provides a mnemonic to quickly evaluate your marketing communication.

    N — What is the Net takeaway?
    O — Is it On target?
    S — Is the ad creative concept Sellable?
    E — What tactical Elements are important or unimportant?

Follow your NOSE, and you’ll hit the consumer bull’s-eye.

Example 2: Practice

Let’s go in to more detail by looking at another advertisement example. Click the image below, and examine the full-size ad for for 10-15 seconds.


Now ask yourself:

    N — Net Takeaway
    What instinctual impression first came to mind? There are millions of possibilities since each person will have a unique impression. Below are my own initial thoughts:
    • “Isn’t this Da Vinci’s masterwork The Last Supper with a modern feminist twist?
    • “Wow, the models are stunning.”
    • “Hey, the guy’s pants are falling off.”
    • “Oh, I’d love to remodel my kitchen with that silver counter top.”
    So, what were your initial thoughts?

    O — On Target
    Is the net takeaway strategically on target with the communication objectives?
    • If the ad is trying to get you to buy stainless steel tables, thinking about The Last Supper or pants falling off misses the target.
    • If the ad is trying encouraging celibacy, this ad needs lots of work.
    • How about selling the guy’s jeans? Hmmm . . . takes some thought but maybe.

    S — Sellable Creative Idea
    What thematic idea can we spin the next time we make this ad?
    • How about playing off another famous artistic masterpiece, say Michelangelo’s The Statue of David?
    • How about The Mona Lisa?
    • The list goes on and on.

    E — Elements
    What are the top three considerations I need to keep in mind when improving the ad?
    • Do we need clearer product placement?
    • What about adding some text so we know the brand and product of interest?

Is on Target, Strategically? Let’s Take a Closer Look.
You’ve actually just commented on a real-life advertisement for jeans by Marithe & Francois Girbaud, Italy. The ad presents a multitude of net takeaways, which marketers normally consider a no-no for achieving good marketing communication. However, in this unique case in Italy, the multitude of conflicting religious and sexual connotations and net takeaways actually hits the bull’s-eye of the strategic objective. Marithe & Francois Girbaud’s objective was to cause an uproar so as to further promote the brand in the news. It turns out, the ad did cause enough stir that the Advertising Standards Authority of Italy eventually banned the ad since the “message of this advertisement blurs the boundaries between the sacred and the profane, and thus offends consumer sensibility.” Nice sellable thematic idea, though!

Example 3: Game Day

Now that you’ve got the gist of how to use your NOSE to evaluate marketing communications, try practicing more the next time you turn on your television, read a magazine, or even listen to the radio (yes, the NOSE framework can also apply to audio communication). Even better, how about giving your new NOSE a sniff of your own website and marketing materials.

Best Rejected Advertising

See more practical business tips.

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