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The bottom line, said brand-loyalty specialist Passikoff, isn’t whether an ad makes creative use of disconnect. “The issue is whether it sells anything,” he emphasized. And especially so, as magazine fashion ads — the longtime staple of apparel marketing — continue to face a diversifying range of competitors: Word-of-mouth, emerging media, guerrilla marketing and store-as-theater are on the ascent. “The windows of the Diesel and French Connection stores in SoHo function like a TV screen, as a vehicle to inspire and provoke,” observed Saatchi & Saatchi’s Roberts. “They’re not about product. Stores are the next theater of dreams; it’s where 80 percent of people make purchasing decisions,” he noted. “One day, fashion magazines will be dominated by nonfashion advertising,” Roberts projected.
Or, as Boston Consulting’s Silverstein put it: “There is a lot of shower advertising out there today; ideas thought up in the shower that just don’t work. We’ve found effective ads combine information about a product’s technical benefits with an emotional component that gives people a basis for belief,” he related. Ads with an absence of those attributes, Silverstein added, “are irrelevant — and marketers would be better off investing their money in product.”