imagevsproductadvaflayDo you know the difference between product advertising and image advertising? Does it matter?

Product advertising…

  • Tells your target audience about the features and attributes of your product.
  • Is most effective when your product has unique features that make it different from or better than your competition.
  • May not be enough to help you stand out because consumers are constantly presented with similar products that have marginal differences.

Image advertising…

  • Defines your product more by its benefits than its functional attributes.
  • Is sometimes viewed as a “luxury” type of advertising that does not deliver immediate benefits or measurable results.
  • Is a showcase for the emotional and psychological qualities that surround your product and affect a consumer’s decision to buy. Remember, the buy decision is not always a rational one based on an analysis of competing product features.

The key is to use each type of advertising in conjunction with the other to maximize results. Target’s retail campaign around the holidays is a nice example where both types of advertising blended in an impressive way. Three kids go on a journey to relight a huge Christmas tree, and their mission is sprinkled with some toys that come to life to help. The campaign captures the magic of the season at the same time as it soft-sells a few products available on Target’s shelves and website.

A strategy we’ve used successfully for one of our clients, Lancaster County Career & Technology Center (CTC), started off as an image campaign, to help brand them and raise awareness of the school as an affordable, flexible option for higher education. As CTC needs to promote specific upcoming programs or new specialized degrees, we keep the same branding look and overall message points, incorporating the specifics of the current need. Check out examples of their marketing material here