The Halo Effect - A Strapline too far


As subliminal messages go the Halo Effect is a sublimely subtle psychological concept. In essence a marketing concept and a route to unimaginable riches, the Halo Effect seemingly encourages us unsuspecting and blatantly thick consumers to assume that two and two make five. Apparently, the food-retailers have this down to a fine art. Or, at least their PR firms do. Joanna Blythman’s splendid article in today’s Guardian explains the phenomenon quite clearly when she writes that “When it comes to labelling, food retailers run rings around their customers, and mainly get away with it. They weave a lexicon of feelgood terms – ‘fresh’, ‘handmade’, ‘artisan’, ‘local’, ‘farmhouse’, ‘healthy’, ‘natural’ – into their marketing messages.”
The halo effect in marketing allows a brand to positively anchor its reputation to a popular item. So, if you want to sell sausages you might just want to avoid descriptives which suggest dead stuff. A negative brand image is a big no no and at the very least, a strapline targeted at consumers who might wish to eat ground up pig’s arses combined with dead donkey’s ears should be avoided at all costs.
“Enjoy our splendid pre-owned horse-meat sausages” might go down a treat in Parisian Pigalle, but in far off Aberdeenshire-land the concept of eating man’s equestrian friend’s recently used penis is likely to lead to a sudden case of business demise.
Mind you, The line between roaring success and humiliating advertorial disaster is quite thin. In far off 1992, Hoover launched a campaign offering a free international air-line tickets on every purchase over £100. Now, that was maybe stupid or what. I mean folk would buy the crappiest piece of non-functioning curly-tailed-pig-shit for a measly £100 to get a round-trip ticket to Barbados. Naturally, Barbados ticket-seeking customers flooded the company stores, but only to leave the company in a loss of £50 million when demand exceeded supply. Hoover of course went to the wall and was bought over by an Italian company by the name of Candy. Sweet!
Then there was that infamous Electrolux campaign. The Swedish multinational advertised it's vacuums using the promotional slogan “Nothing Sucks Like an Electrolux”. Corporate embarrassment and lost sales followed when the unintended double-entendre failed to impress the squeaky-clean ultra-right folks who inhabit the US bible belt.
But back to that Halo concept. My book sales need a boost and I chanced upon a couple of promotional slogans. “Eat my book” didn’t quite cut it and “The A-Z of Curious Aberdeenshire – a self-help guide to spiritual enhancement” made even less sense.
But then I came up with the strapline “The A-Z of Curious Aberdeenshire is guaranteed to enthral both residents and visitors alike”.
Now I really like the sound of that.
The book, as always, is available from both Amazon and Inverurie Whisky Shop. How cool is that.
ISBN 9780750983792

Image (c) Ben Harley 


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