Message Strategy in Advertising
A message strategy is fundamentally an idea that addresses the methodology through which a message is to be communicated to the target audience. The message strategy for a brand generally incorporates an element that is meant to generate an appeal or a similar sense of motivation that can be trusted to pull the audience towards the brand. The purpose of the creation of the message strategy is not to simply communicate the message of the brand to the target audience but also to ensure that the target audience develops an interest in the brand as a result of the execution of the communication.
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The development of a message strategy calls for the evaluation of the exact nature of the impact that the communication of the message is meant to generate. In this regard, it is imperative to first determine the purpose of communication. The second element with regard to the development of the message strategy is to acquire an understanding of the target customer. A message strategy cannot be expected to be a successful one unless it takes the customer adequately into account and addresses the customer while keeping the customer’s needs in perspective (slideshare 2008).
The third element of the message strategy is related more directly to the product. It is the determination of the selling strategy that will be exercised within the message strategy. The determination of the selling strategy calls for ascertaining the reasons because of which a customer should make a purchase of the product in question. This element holds relevance because when the message strategy is finally exercised, the customer has to be made aware of why the product holds relevance.
Creative tactics in advertising
The creative tactics brought into use in an advertising campaign serve to define how the message strategy will be exercised. It is the practical form of the message strategy developed at an earlier stage in the process. It is imperative to note that the manner of the implementation of the creative tactic can serve to determine the eventual success or failure of the message strategy.
Creative tactic development is fundamentally a three stage process. The process begins with exploration of the product in an attempt to develop an insight of the product. This insight is meant to assist in the identification of key elements pertaining to the product. These key elements are generally related to the product’s visual and/or verbal identity (slideshare 2008). Once the identity of the product has been developed, only then can the advertising strategy constitute the form in which the product is to be brought to the customer. The development of the creative tactic allows the brand to come across to the customer as a unique product/service. The product/service is seen as a brand that is unique and has a prominent position.
Pepsi Max in Australia
The product chosen for the purpose of this paper is Pepsi Max. Pepsi has been marketing itself aggressively in Australia for decades now and the company is known for launching large scale promotional campaigns in every part of the world around the year. From commercials to print media, Pepsi is known for its aggressive marketing strategies. Pepsi chooses to consider Australia with the same degree of relevance with which it perceives the UK with regard to the need for continuous and sustained marketing strategies.
The advertisement chosen for the purpose of this paper is that of the product Pepsi Max. The product is Pepsi’s low calorie beverage which is sold under the label of having zero sugar in it (Bachmeier 2009). The beverage is being marketed as a drink that is meant for younger consumers who are diet cautious with regard to beverage consumption. “Pepsi Max was re-invented for each market Pepsi was shooting for.
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In early 2005, a lemon-lime-flavored variety was introduced to the UK and Australian drink markets, known as Pepsi Max Twist. Later, Pepsi added ginger and cinnamon flavors to Pepsi Max for the UK and called it Pepsi Max Punch. The coffee flavor added to the drink was dropped in France, Finland, Ireland, Norway, and the UK calling it Pepsi Max Cappuccino” (Bachmeier 2009, p. 12).
The reason because of which Pepsi Max holds relevance as a case worthy of studying is because Pepsi Max has been recently activated in Australia. The activation of Pepsi Max in Australia was based on extensive marketing and promotion. Pepsi channeled extensive resources towards the promotional campaign (Inc Icon Group International 2008). It merits highlighting at this point that Pepsi Max is essentially a modified re-launch of Diet Pepsi. However, Diet Pepsi had become isolated in its consumption with consumers belonging to the older age group. Pepsi almost always seeks to develop a brand image for its product that is energetic and lively.
As a result, Pepsi chose to scale down the marketing of Diet Pepsi and launch Pepsi Max. The drink does not associate itself with any passive attitude but chooses to take a more active approach. The drink was named Pepsi Max in an attempt to accentuate the carefree and energetic attributes of the brand. In addition, the name also helped in ensuring that the brand was not received as a light brand.
It was observed that Pepsi’s advertising campaign for Pepsi Max in Australia was developed to reflect a carefree brand image that was based on living without any inhibitions and taking risks in order to enjoy life (Marconi 2000). The print advertising campaign for Pepsi Max paid special attention towards the accentuation of the factor of risk taking in the promotion.
In an attempt to disassociate the beverage with the regular stereotypes surrounding diet drinks, Pepsi has made sure that none of its marketing campaigns present the Pepsi Max as a diet beverage. The tag lines continue to stress on the presence of the regular taste of the drink with the complete absence of sugar.
For the purpose of this paper, a comparison of sorts was performed between the advertisement of Pepsi in Australia in the print media and in the electronic media. The advertisements in the print media were observed to be those that invited the audience to take part in daring acts. This invitation was given without allowing any reference to age limit of the consumer (Bennett 2009). Generally the printed commercials would simply be designed to catch the reader’s eye and then present an exaggerated situation; which would be associated with the consumption of the beverage.
In contrast, television advertisements chose to stress on teenage consumers (Paul 2008). Elements such as late night partying and the occurrence of simultaneous and continuous coincidences was an element that was found frequently in Pepsi Max television commercials in Australia.
An observation that was made during the course of the study is that modern day advertising campaigns give more relevance to mass advertising than they ever did before. Background searches into the preparation of the advertising campaign in question revealed that the campaign, like many others, had been planned for a long time and had been carefully planned to have a smothering effect on the masses.
A very closely related example was found in the case of another Australian brand Sensis, which is marketed by Telstra (Frew 2004). Telestra developed a complete plan to market Sensis in an attempt to develop it as a brand name; and there was no steady increase in marketing momentum. The marketing plan was designed to incorporate all forms of print and electronic advertisement in its scope as well as public places, public transportation vehicles, social events, shopping malls and the like. The marketing campaign in question was also observed to be of a somewhat similar nature in terms of its scope.
With regard to the message strategy exercised by Pepsi Max Australia, it was observed that Pepsi Max chose to communicate to the target audience by traditional channels of marketing such as through television commercials and print media with the smallest share of promotional resources being diverted towards radio based marketing (Jobber and Fahy 2009). Television advertisements topped the lists for Pepsi Max in Australia with print commercials following closely. It was observed that the print commercials attempted to be just as loud by communicating unrealistic situations in which the scenario depicted extreme circumstances.
There is another element of the Pepsi Max advertisements that was quite notable. The advertisements continued to stress on the completion of fantasies. The promotional material, paper and non-paper based, reflected the acquisition of desire. Consumers were shown an image in which the consumption of Pepsi Max was related to the achievement of complete satisfaction. Almost every element of the advertisements assisted in the development of portrayal of this image. This was observed to be something relatively new for Pepsi since the company generally chooses to concentrate primarily on teenage consumers.
This time, Pepsi chose to concentrate on consumers who had dreams and desires that they wanted fulfilled. A study into this element revealed that Pepsi had recently chosen to make this diversion on purpose (Plaskitt 2003). Pepsi had continued to center all of its promotional energy on youngsters but has now chosen to bring forth a more generalized approach. The new approach allows a wider target audience to find appeal in the consumption of Pepsi.
The above discussion can be brought to a concluding note with the statement that Pepsi Max has been advertised in Australia as a drink that is highly energetic and can be trusted to provide the freedom of energy that is required to make the wildest of fantasies come true. The advertisements take a special turn from Pepsi’s regular purely youth oriented approach towards advertisement of its products.
This time, in Pepsi Max, Pepsi has chosen to highlight the acquisition of fantasies and desires to break free from the regularities of everyday life. The promotional campaign for Pepsi Max in Australia not only incorporated print media but also incorporated television commercials. The television commercials were designed to appeal to a more energetic and active bent of mind while the commercials in the print media sought to target consumers by catching their attention through the depiction of extra-ordinary scenarios.
Pepsi evidently wanted to set the audience thinking about the benefits of drinking Pepsi Max and did not want them to concentrate on the technicalities of the drink and how it can have the same taste without any sugar. This statement can be substantiated from the observation that none of the Australian commercials and advertisements for Pepsi Max addresses issues such as those relating to weight or calories. The promotional material very rarely addressed this side of the picture. All the promotional material was designed to portray the energy that the drink has and how it can provide the consumer with boundless satisfaction.
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Even in cases where the promotion did not focus on the young generation, the focus remained riveted to the association of energy with the drink. Furthermore, the only reference made to the drink itself was that made in the tag line: Same great taste. Besides this, no relevance was given to the constituents of the drink at any time. It was observed that Pepsi was attempting to sell a new brand of energy to the consumers instead of a soft drink to consumers. The advertisements were meant to deliver the promise of infinite energy and unbreakable will with the taste only serving as a compliment to the package.
List of References
Bachmeier, K. (2009) Analysis of Marketing Strategies Used by PepsiCo Based on Ansoff’s Theory. Germany: GRIN Verlag.
Bennett, A. G. (2009) The Big Book of Marketing: Lessons and Practices from the World’s Greatest Companies. New York: McGraw Hill Professional.
Frew, W. (2004) Telstra campaign starts transformation of Sensis. Web.
Inc Icon Group International. (2008) Maxes: Webster’s Quotations, Facts and Phrases. California: ICON Group International, Inc.
Jobber, D. and Fahy, J. (2009) Foundations Of Marketing. New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill.
Marconi, J. (2000) The brand marketing book: creating, managing and extending the value of your brand. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional.
Paul, J. (2008) International Marketing : Text And Cases. New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill.
Plaskitt, S. (2003) Pepsi max repositions to target healthy men. Web.
slideshare. (2008) Creative Message Strategies. Web.