placement is everything

On the way to Virginia Beach, I passed an electronic billboard that rotated a series of 5 ads. One of the ads that ran was for refreshing Coca Cola. Great, there are thousands of people seeing that ad as they pass by in their hot cars and there’s a good possibility that even seeing the name Coca Cola will make them take a pit stop and grab a coke.

Unfortunately, the ad that immediately followed the refreshing Coca Cola ad said “One soda has 20 packs of sugar. Drink responsibly.” It was an ad by the Nutrition Counsel and program for Fit Kids.

Both Coca Cola and Fit Kids likely spent an enormous amount of money to have an ad rotating day in and day out on this billboard. But in this case, was the money that Coke spent really a waste?

Placement Zappos Airport

At the airport, Zappos, an online retailer, has put ads in the bins that shoes, laptops and bags are placed in as people walk through security. What a great time to convince someone they need a new pair of shoes or a bag for their laptop then when they are forced to remove those personal belongings and put them front in center in a bin in front of hundreds of people at the airport.

Placement is everything. It’s important to think through all of the details and possible conflicts when deciding how to market a brand. In a world where we are inundated with thousands upon thousands of ads a day, the brands that win are the ones who are able to make us feel something, that tell a story and are able to connect to us in a personal way.

Perhaps it was Fit Kids that won in the billboard placement on the way to Virginia Beach. Unintentionally, Coke’s ill-placed ad right before their harmful sugar message really helped them tell a more vivid story. As for Zappos, I know I certainly think of the condition of my shoes every time I’m standing sock-footed in the security line at the airport.

Brands that win our attention do so through making us feel something. They move us to act based on fear, excitement and desire for a certain quality of life. Brands that don’t win our attention often spend their time trying to market the product instead of the benefits that product will have on our lives. And even if a brand does it well in most cases, sometimes the placement of that story can make all the difference.

Well done, Zappos.

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