Diagnosis: Ad Fatigue

There’s a legendary story in advertising circles about auto magnate Henry Ford. He had a layout of the company’s latest print ad tacked to his wall, which he saw every time he came into his office. One day he loudly announced that he was tired of the ad and it was high time to create a new one. “But Mr. Ford,” his assistant stammered, “that hasn’t even started running yet.”

It’s only natural for a client to get tired of an ad long before its intended audience does.

So how can you determine when it’s time to change your campaign?

The answer is: it depends. There are many factors to evaluate before making changes. For starters, there’s frequency. How many times has your audience seen or heard the ad? Experts believe an ad message must be encountered anywhere from five to seven times (and some say up to 20!) before it makes an impact.

What’s the objective of your ad? Are you trying to promote a sale this weekend or to build a lasting image for your brand? Consider the medium you’re using. The fatigue factor is far greater online, which means digital ads will need to be updated more often than ads on TV or radio. Ask yourself if your messaging is still relevant, or if something has changed in your marketing strategy that needs to be communicated.

Perhaps the most important question is one you haven’t considered before: What’s the purchase cycle of your product or service? Shorter-lived ads make sense for products with a short purchase cycle (something people need every few days, weeks or months), while those with a long purchase cycle (something needed only once every several years) can use the same creative for a longer period of time.

If you feel you might be coming down with a case of ad fatigue, we’ll perform a thorough diagnosis and give you our professional opinion. After all – with due respect to Henry Ford – there’s no point in junking an ad that still has plenty of marketing mileage on it.