Marry branding and response for better ad payback

Lucas Donat

The advertising industry has long thrived on the notion that some ads serve to build brands (the emotional-button creative spots that make us laugh or cry), while some others drive sales (the long- and short-form direct response (DR) that keep us company in the small hours) – and never the twain shall meet.

For me, the idea that advertising needs to either build brands or to drive an immediate response seems as ridiculous as the idea that to lose weight one must choose between either more exercise or a healthier diet.

The evidence is rapidly piling up for a more sensible view. Feedback from pioneering advertisers big and small, chatter at industry events and innovative new ad formats suggest that the two divergent forms of advertising are coming together as never before. This article maintains that the two disciplines that have traditionally been at opposite ends of the advertising spectrum – brand building and direct response – now go hand in hand and, in fact, one approach cannot be successful without incorporating the other.