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Can Advertising Move Brand Preference?


Thanks to the onset of two killer social media apps – Facebook and Twitter – the answer to this question is now, more than ever, a resounding, “Yes!”

The Advent of

A decade ago, the idea of people giving up their neighborhood bookstore in favor of would have been unthinkable. But thanks to the website’s relatively larger catalog of titles and the ability of its software agents to recommend related titles to a registered user, the service is now ubiquitous. It has not completely replaced bookstores, but with the growing importance of e-books and e-readers,, and other sites can funnel their advertising largely into direct channels such as loyalty customer email messages, and so on.

According to one expert, the social media manager for Carnival Cruises, the kind of social behavior advertising pioneered by is now gradually being adopted by all companies. This has become possible because rather than having to build out a stand-alone website, companies such as Carnival Cruises can field their advertising to people directly via Twitter and Facebook, in a peer-to-peer recommended way. A company like Dick’s Sporting Goods can now do all of its business, if it so chooses, directly from its Facebook page and earn the transferred loyalty of younger customers.

The DVR Generation

Another huge challenge and shift presently occurring with regards to cultivating consumer brand preference is the notion that the former foundation of this practice, the 30-second and 60-second TV ad, is under siege. Except for the Super Bowl broadcast and a few other “event” shows like the Oscars, advertisers now know and expect viewers to be fast-forwarding through TV ads.

A 2009 survey by Boston University researchers found that while fast-forwarding through TV ads, the viewer’s gaze and attention naturally wander towards the center of the screen. Any advertiser that takes advantage of this may then still be able to implant critical brand preference triggers in the consumer’s mind. Separately, a controlled look at consumers who had fast-forwarded through a chocolate bar ad vs. those who had watched the TV advertisement the old-fashioned way found a similar level of brand retention.

One ad for a Samsung phone in the fall of 2010 included an on-screen prompt urging viewers to start fast-forwarding. In the highly competitive world of electronics, tweets about the latest features of a cell phone or video game can influence followers. Some celebrities with many followers are now paid for some of their product tweets, while Twitter has begun charging six figures to place a product at the top of their influential “Trending Topics” list.


Forbes – “Carnival: Building Applications for Social Commerce”, December 7, 2010, Retrieved December 19, 2010 from

Facebook – Dick’s Sporting Goods, Retrieved December 19, 2010 from – “Fast Forwarding as Ad Strategy”, December 3, 2010, Retrieved December 19, 2010 from

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