What do Sir Isaac Newton, Bhaskara of India, and Claude Hopkins have in common? You might be surprised but their principles relate to scientific advertisements. Hear me out. This will come full circle. It's no secret that writing crafty, persuasive, and killer ads are a product of eloquence, tasteful articulation and wit. In other words, it's an art. However, very few people have considered ads to be a product of science too. When you close your eyes to the existence of scientific advertising, you lose half the impact. The truth of the matter is that advertising is scientific as much as it is artistic. This article will explore everything there is to know about scientific advertisements through the lense of some of the most renowned scientists and thought leaders.
The “Reason-why” Approach to Advertising
While not a scientist by designation, the foremost personality in producing scientific advertisements is Claude Hopkins. His most important book, "Scientific Advertising," was published in 1923 but the contents resound up to today's advertising landscape. For beginners and students of advertising and marketing, this 20th-century book is a must-read. In Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins, he stresses that advertising is governed by "laws." He argued that these laws are “immutable” or fixed, similar to those of scientific principles like gravity. In other words, the laws that govern advertising back then are the same laws that govern advertising today. To that end, many of today's advertising experts still look to Hopkins' wisdom in their advertising endeavors.
"Hopkins was a good advertiser who became great by blending science and art." – Neil O'Keefe
Aside from teaching vital advertising aspects like headlines, psychology, and strategy, he also introduced an ageless approach to scientific advertising. He called this the “Reason-why" approach. Like the appropriately called tactic, there is also a reason why he called it the “Reason-why”. In the Scientific Advertising book, he describes the reality of customers in one sentence:“ Those who are entitled to any seeming advantage will go a long way not to lose that advantage.”Only one thought pervades consumers' minds whenever they encounter a new advertisement for a product or service: **“What's in it for me?”**While they have problems that need solving, consumers are not only looking to satisfy their underlying felt needs – money, energy, and time. Underneath their search for the best solutions, they are ultimately seeking the best possible advantage. You only satisfy this requirement for advantage when your products or services meet their pain and pleasure points. This means, giving them an advantage in terms of the 3 positive motivators – identity, purpose, and adventure. It also means giving them an advantage in terms of the 3 negative antimotivators – fear, shame, and guilt. What exactly are the advantages? These are also called the benefits of the benefits, or what deeper gratification customers get when purchasing your solution. For example, let's look at Brian Scudamore's impressive Wow 1 Day Painting business. Naturally, the benefit of hiring his services is that your home's paint job gets finished in one day! But the advantages, or the deeper benefits, may be some of these:
- Having a beautiful place to call home (Identity)
- Looking good to visitors (removing shame)
- Getting that pesky job off the honey-do list (removing guilt)
Advantages make customers imagine what it feels like to have your solution. With advantages, your audience sees that your benefits extend beyond your product and impact the vital aspects that motivate their actions. Here's the rub: advantages are often the hidden and unspoken elements of your solutions. That's why you need to point out and articulate the advantages to be most persuasive. Listing the features or benefits of a solution in your advertising will never persuade. Because they don't answer what your customers are truly looking for – the advantage. If you don’t believe me, try this scientific advertising experiment.
- Advertise your products or services by listing all the features that your solutions offer.
- Advertise your solutions based on their benefits.
- Advertise your solutions based on their advantages.
I’m telling you, the majority of your highest value engagements will come from option three. This first segment of scientific advertising aims to tell you one thing. Unless your advertiser waves the advantages of your solutions, you’re not getting the most ROI for ads. Advantages should be the focus, and Wizard of Ads® can capitalize on your advantages to give you the best ads. If you’re tired of weak and ineffective ads, book a call.
Now let's head on to another prominent scientific personality and discover how his concepts relate to scientific advertisements. All the credit for the correlation of his principles to ads goes to Roy H. Williams. Sir Isaac Newton is one of the most popular scientific personalities to have ever graced the earth. If you remember science class, he is the mastermind behind the telescope, theory of gravity, and other scientific principles. Among them, a famous discovery of his is the Three Laws of Motion. Let's see how these laws relate to scientific advertisements. First Law of Motion: _An object at rest will remain at rest unless a force acts on it. What does this tell us?Understanding its relationship with ads requires us to view his concepts from the lens of advertising and business. In this case: Let's consider the "object" to be your "solution." Unless you use "force" (or "advertise") there will be no apparent change in your products and services. This means that they shall remain idle, no one will know about them, and no person will ever buy them. Conversely, whenever you advertise, you slowly bring your solutions closer to your target audience. The question is, _how strong are your ads? This brings us to the next law. Second Law of Motion: _Force is the product and is calculated by multiplying mass and acceleration._His second law explains how strong a.k.a. impactful your advertising endeavors are. Allow me to explain. It's no secret that any type, form, or level of force that hits a surface creates an impact. So, in a way, force and impact are identical. How? Force corresponds to impact because all forms of impact are products of force. In a Monday Morning Memo, Roy H. Williams explains the correlation between impact and ads, through the lens of force. Let's look at these equations: Force = Mass x Acceleration a.k.a. Impact of your ads = Size of the idea x The speed of successful transmission(Successful transmission is the speed by which you successfully transferred the thought from your mind to your customer.)Given the above equation, your advertisements create more a powerful impact on consumers when:
- The ad introduces a new or a big idea that blows the mind of customers
- The ad is concise and salient enough to be clearly and quickly understood by your audience
That's the secret sauce in creating powerful and impactful ads. However, there's a grave caveat. We learn this in Newton's third law.Third Law of Motion: For every action or force, there is an equal but opposite reaction. Roy H. Williams argues that this law directly affects the force of an ad's impact. How? For every impactful ad that you create and publish, there will be an equal force that battles against it. Imagine bouncing a basketball off the floor. The first bounce would be the strongest, but as it continues to bounce, the force gradually decreases. This same concept applies to advertising. The faster and more impactful an ad offer produces big results, the less well it works over time. Everyone knows this. For example, use scarcity or limited offers as an angle to gain sales quickly. You can be certain that after several times of using this technique, it will no longer work. Or introduce a new idea in your ads, but rehash that same idea several times in succeeding ads. I'm sure those latter ads won't bring the same impact as the initial one.
"When things become old, predictable, and the-same-as-before, people turn their attention elsewhere." — Roy H. Williams
Isaac Newton's Laws of Motion teaches us that we must always produce easily understandable, concise, and impactful ads. These are the most effective forms of scientific advertisements. However, he also reminds us that when we're creating ads, we must always look for:
- Fresh angles
- New takes
- Unheard-of strategies
- Unexpected twists
Why? Because this will keep our audience constantly engaged and asking for more. There's just one problem. Not many people, let alone business owners, know about artistic and scientific advertisements. Ads have always been a combination of the two, not entirely scientific. However, many systems-focused entrepreneurs and ad specialists think that it's a science in all respects. What this means is they think what works now will work still tomorrow. To be completely honest, some principles of advertising are evergreen. But you can't implement the same ideas, prose, juxtapositions, foils, and words expecting the same results. They will inevitably have diminished value afterward. These system-driven entrepreneurs will ask agencies to give them fast-acting, reliable ads that drive sales opportunities and revenue. Unsuspecting and often advertising rookies will gladly nod, agree, and comply with the absurd request. Quite possibly, in their minds, they can use the same formula as before and think they’ll replicate the previous wins. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. You can't always use the same ads that worked before, because they will work less. Worse, they will cease working at all. This scenario reminded Roy H. Williams of the concept of a perpetual motion machine.
The Quest for a Perpetual Motion Machine
Let's take a step back from England (Isaac Newton's domain) and head to India. Did you know that the very first documented perpetual motion claim was from Bhāskara II in the 12th century? He designed Bhāskara's Wheel. This is a hypothetical perpetual motion machine that is said to continue spinning indefinitely without any external source of energy. However, there's a catch: perpetual motion machines violate Newton’s first law of thermodynamics. Science itself proves that perpetual motion machines will work. Still, many attempted to follow the design Bhāskara II made. Naturally, none ever worked. Despite Newton's theory disproving the possibility of perpetual motion, many mathematicians believed they could make it work. In the words of Henry Dircks:"The history of perpetual motion is a history of the fool-hardiness of either half-learned or totally ignorant persons.”Many young advertising professionals fit that description. They think there's a formula for advertisement that stands perpetually true through the years. However, that is never the case. Ads evolve. The more you use an ad, the less impactful it becomes. Reusing the same ads is like creating a perpetual motion machine– it is bound to fail. Evolve your ads by introducing new ideas, using new words, and adding more value overall that makes them more impactful. Not all advertising agency knows this. The Wizard of Ads® knows this and we provide revolutionary and ever-evolving advertisements. Book a call.
Lesson on the Physics of Advertising
Let's head back to England and talk about Newton's first law of thermodynamics. This is also known as the law of conservation of energy. This popular law introduces concepts that also explain scientific advertisements. This law states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Instead, energy can only be transformed from one form to another. The best example, as used by Roy H. Williams, is gasoline. The chemicals found in gasoline are convertible to other forms of energy like kinetic, heat, light, and even percussive energy. However, when this chemical energy is expended via the process, the gasoline is gone. In other words, you cannot burn the same gasoline twice. No matter how much gasoline you add, if you burn them once, they are consumed. Let's explore this concept more in the texts below:
The “Buying Energy”
While we're on the topic of gasoline, take some time to understand these concepts. Think of gasoline as "buying energy" or the enthusiasm that a consumer has about your product. Examples of buying energy include your goodwill, reputation, share-of-mind, and word-of-mouth. Trust me, this will make more sense momentarily. All your buying energy can be stored in a customer's mind via three pathways:
Whenever your products and services deliver or perform exceedingly above what the customer expects, you store buying energy. You keep on filling up the tank in your customers' minds that your solutions are worth it. However, once you fall short of their expectations, that gasoline is burned.
Think of referrals as word-of-mouth marketing or those positive online reviews you see online. When there are good reviews and positive word-of-mouth surrounding your business, you increase the buying energy of potential customers. However, when those reviews or referrals are negative, that gasoline burns.
Whenever you tell stories in your advertising, you are building relationships with people. Those stories are meant to resonate and relate with your audience, and this fills up their buying energy tank. However, when you use urgency and scarcity in your advertising, you force customers to act fast. Limited-time bargains push customers to act in a "now or never" manner and this burns their gasoline quicker. Remember, gasoline never burns twice. In the context of advertising, when you already used a fast-acting, urgent, scarcity message in your ads, it won't work again. Why? Because you already burned that gasoline. Their buying energy is transferred to the universe. That is precisely why a fast-acting ad that produces big results will work lesser the second time around.
"Shout 'wolf' too often and the villagers no longer come running. Your gasoline has all been burned."
– Roy H. Williams
Flaming up an innocent parcel of land doesn't sit well with me. The better advertising strategy is to be a farmer.
The Science of Advertising is Like Farming
Roy H. Williams managed to summarize this in a single sentence:
"You cannot harvest what was never planted."
The same goes with advertising and we'll explain why below:
Every good thing, even in business, comes when you plant a seed. Advertising in a manner that tells a story or builds rapport with customers is like planting seeds in their minds. Planting a seed is likened to when a customer first gains awareness of your business. They learn that you and your solutions exist.
But planting a seed is not the endpoint within a plant's life cycle. As you continue building relationships with customers through advertising, the seed germinates and grows into a seedling. Every story you share and every touchpoint in your business are like ameliorants and elements that strengthen the seedling’s growth. In other words, you are nurturing the plant.
In the end, the seedling grows into a wonderful fruit-bearing plant until such time that it's ripe for harvest. When you take care of the seedling before you aim for the harvest, you reap bountifully. That's the difference between using fast-acting and conversion-driven advertisements right off the bat. Think of it this way. Jewelers know that Christmas, Valentine's, and Mother's Days are peak seasons for jewelry. However, there is not one jeweler that knows when a couple gets engaged. They don't know when a couple celebrates their anniversary. They have no idea when a mother celebrates her birthday. Roy H. Williams argues that's where the big money is found. It’s the same for plumbers, HVAC, or roofers. You have no idea when breakdowns, repairs, replacements, or maintenance requests will occur. All you know is how to do it when the time comes. When you keep nurturing that seed and building relationships with customers, they'll know who to trust when the time comes. That's where you'll find the BIG money.
Scientific Advertising Turns Brands Into Household Names
Scientific advertisements are full of important lessons. From the realm of physics to chemistry, all the way to biology, these are lessons that our advertising Wizards learn. When you implement scientific advertising into your business, you know which ads work and which ads you must focus on. Aiming for a fast-acting harvest may be good in the short term. However, if you want a long-lasting impact on your customers, nurture that seed. That's how you become a household brand.**The question is: are you up for that or do you prefer the unpredictable world of lead generation?**If you want to break barriers and build relationships with your customers, we're the people to call. Wizard of Ads® can help you make your business the household name it is meant to be. Book a call.