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Disruptive Advertising Vs. Additive Advertising: Embracing CPIs

Updated: May 6

Traditionally, marketers seek to disrupt—to break through the noise to grab attention, to shift consumers’ way of thinking. This is a classic KPI-based interaction, one that focuses on the business’s desired outcomes rather than the customer’s goals. As it’s gotten harder to break through, efforts at disruption have become more extreme. Classic examples from the past decade include ads that activated Apple’s Siri or Google Home, which definitely succeeded in getting device owners’ attention. More recently, some ads have embedded the sound of a cell phone on vibrate at key moments, rousing viewers and prompting them to pick up their device, making it ever so easy to launch right into an online shopping session. While these ads succeed in disruption, they don’t often leave a positive impression on consumers.

In all CX touch points, we consider Customer Performance Indicators (CPIs), which address how well customer's needs and goals are being met. Rather than disrupting, which isn’t typically a consumer goal, marketers should consider additive advertising. Such marketing content supports consumer needs, giving them a benefit and thereby earning their attention. Some influencer marketing is an example of the power of additive advertising—influencer content often shows consumers how to use a product, provides entertainment, and (to an extent) offers a sense of connection with others; all added benefits of the consumer paying attention to an “ad.”

Lofi Girl meets the Nissan Ariya

Brands themselves can lean into this trend (with or without influencers). Ikea Stories are product features that are also engaging snapshots of life around the world that help customers answer some of their own challenges (such as how to furnish a dorm room). Nissan recently celebrated the rise of the lo-fi music by creating a 4-hour ad that doubles as a playlist, leading many fans to thank the brand for its contribution to the genre. Even luxury brands have gotten in on the trend: Gucci released free coloring pages that promote the brand while offering a mindful moment.

Instead of annoying, additive advertising benefits the customer. While checking the box of CPIs for consumers, it also generates the same sought-after attention, creates a sense of goodwill, and can ultimately address an important KPI for all brands: advocacy. To embrace this trend with your brand, ideate around common goals or needs your customers have (both within and beyond your category) and consider how to solve for them in your marketing campaigns.

Interested in more cultural strategy tips and trends? Reach out to the empatiX team to learn how we help brands lead into these consumer-led shifts.

By: Melanie Shreffler, VP Cultural Strategy + Insights

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