“Who loves you Oklahoma,” and my favorite, “We won’t mess you over a few dollars,” are advertising slogans that catch your attention.

Discovering what works and what doesn’t is the job of agencies that rely on research. That data is collected by conventional means such as surveys, but most recently comes from intrusions in our privacy such as computer search records, smart devices such as Alexa and Siri, and smartphone inquiries.

Advertising has taken many forms over the years. Billboards were one of the first to be utilized. Backroads were once awash in signs advertising local business, and barns painted “Visit Miracle Caverns in Springfield” was one I recall. There was a politician that used car hoods for signs, and the Burma Shave series of one-liners spaced down the road was classic: “ANGELS — WHO GUARD YOU — WHEN YOU DRIVE — USUALLY — RETIRE AT 65 — BURMA SHAVE” is one of at least 75 others that were aimed to catch your eye, though still not as distracting as texting and driving.

Advertising pays for publishing magazines and newspapers but as the digital age intrudes into their domain, we are seeing less of both. Twenty percent of newspapers have closed in the last 15 years and some magazines, if they survive, have gone to the digital format. Even “Playboy” has printed its last centerfold and “Cycle World” is only available online.

Those pop-up ads on the computer and smartphone are important to keep things running but even with social distancing, word-of-mouth is still the best.


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