Dave Trott: The real, real media
In 2001 the twin towers collapsed.
What was the effect on the average person?
Not the publicised shock, anger, and grief that the entire nation felt.
How did it affect the behaviour of the individual?
People became scared of flying.
Because that day, four planes crashed killing everyone on board.
So many people stopped flying.
How did they travel instead?
Gerd Gigerenzer researches this in his book "Risk Savvy".
Instead of flying, people switched to driving.
For the previous five years, driving grew at around 1% a year.
In the twelve months after 9/11 it grew by 5%.
The increase was greatest on rural interstate highways, the sort used for long distance travel.
Something else happened during that twelve-month period.
Road deaths increased by 1,600.
Gigerenzer says the average yearly death toll on American roads is around 35,000.
So the increase in deaths is roughly the same as the increase in driving.
That’s 1,600 people who would have been alive if they’d flown instead of driving.
How can he know this?
In the five years after 9/11, over 2 billion passengers flew and not one died in a major plane crash.
Gigernzer’s point, which is interesting for us, is that the real focus of terrorism is to control the mind.
It’s not the initial act which is important.
It’s everything that act provokes the target into subsequently doing.
It’s a very useful area of study for us.
Given that we don’t just want to make advertising that’s forgotten as soon as it’s finished running.
We want to provoke a change in the behaviour of the target audience.
We don’t just want people to notice our ad.
We want it to have an effect in the market.
We want people to be provoked into doing something.
In most cases, into buying our product.
Either trying our brand, or buying more of it, or buying it instead of something else, or buying it for someone else.
To do this we need to have advertising that lasts beyond it’s media.
Advertising that gets into people’s minds.
Osama Bin laden understood this.
He said "We spent half a million dollars on that event. While it cost America, according to the lowest estimate, more than five hundred billion dollars.
Therefore every dollar we spent defeated a million of their dollars".
So the real issue isn’t just the act.
The real issue is what the act provokes.
In our terms, it’s ultimately a business problem not a communication problem.
The act must lead to a business solution, not stop at a communication solution.
So the real media isn’t where it runs.
The real media is where it runs after it runs.
The real media is the human mind.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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