When advertising legend Leo Burnett died in 1971, a book simply titled, Leo, was privately printed and distributed by his associates. Those lucky enough to have worked with the man received a coveted copy. Glen Peak was among the fortunate few.
In Leo, a compilation of famous speeches, we find timeless words of wisdom, amazingly relevant today. In about 1950, Burnett wrote about “the brand” in a speech called, “The power of frequency.” He almost sounds like a modern branding guru when he explains, “Whether it is an impulse purchase like a candy bar or a package of cigarettes or an infrequent and highly deliberated purchase like a washing machine, a refrigerator, a vacuum cleaner or a mattress, the biggest single thing that advertising can contribute is a friendly predisposition toward the brand—a whole complex of thoughts and emotions which give the purchaser peace of mind in the choice he [or she] makes. We shun the unknown. We are naturally drawn to the familiar. You might call this simply ‘friendship for the product.’ Your best friends are people whose qualities you like and admire and whom you enjoy being with—but they are usually people you see frequently. The principle of frequency in advertising has long been recognized. Several great brands have been built around rigid adherence to this principle rather than through the content or power of any single advertisement.”
The idea of a “whole complex of thoughts and emotions” about a brand sounds like modern branding building, doesn’t it? And, Burnett’s emphasis on the power of “friends” seems almost prophetic in this era of social networking.
Although the concept of brand friendship and loyalty hasn’t changed much over the past 60 years, media choices dramatically have. As marketing experts today, we ask ourselves. how much advertising is too much? How much is too little? The battle between reach and frequency is going through seismic shifts in perspective and is altering everything we do.
In light of the changes occurring almost daily, it is beneficial to review some basic concepts in media strategy and examine how those concepts are evolving. To read more about our perspectives on media planning, click here to request our White Paper 3.