Have you ever noticed just how much advertising is a part of the American culture? Growing up my friends and I would imitate commercials such as Parkay “Butter…parkay…ahhh BUTTER…parkeeeey”, EF Hutton “My broker is EF Hutton…and EF Hutton says…(hands go up to the ears)” and let’s not forget one of the best ads from the 80’s Wendy’s “WHERE’S THE BEEF”. I didn’t care about artificial butter and certainly had no idea what EF Hutton was, but I knew the commercials. It’s incredible to think about the influence those advertising campaigns had on me and my friends. This kind of branding is nothing new, and has been going on way before we were all born and will continue long after we are dead.
Believe it or not, there was an advertising campaign that has forever changed American culture. It was a campaign for the De Beers Diamond Corporation that gave birth to the “diamond engagement ring”. Even the two month’s salary was a part of the campaign! Before this advertising campaign women considered a diamond ring to be “money down the drain”. Check out this excerpt from the May 3rd 2013 issue of The New York Times titled “How Diamonds Became Forever.”
“It’s hard to imagine a time when diamond engagement rings were not the norm; today, even after a decade and a half of bad press about blood diamonds and working conditions in the mines, among other concerns, 75 percent of brides in the United States wear one, according to Kenneth Gassman, president of the Jewelry Industry Research Institute.
Last year, Americans spent almost $7 billion on the rings. But in 1938, when a De Beers representative wrote to N. W. Ayer to inquire whether “the use of propaganda in various forms” might boost the sale of diamonds in the United States, their popularity had been on a downward trend, in part because of the Depression.
N.W. Ayer conducted extensive surveys of consumer attitudes and found that most Americans thought diamonds were a luxury for the ultra-wealthy. Women wanted their men to spend money on “a washing machine, or a new car, anything but an engagement ring,” Ms. Gerety said in 1988. “It was considered just absolutely money down the drain.”
Still, the agency set an ambitious goal: “to create a situation where almost every person pledging marriage feels compelled to acquire a diamond engagement ring.”
Read the whole article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/fashion/weddings/how-americans-learned-to-love-diamonds.html?_r=0
Or check out this humorous video on the subject: http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/why-engagement-rings-are-a-scam-here-are-the-facts/#.UwY7k7w4qFU.facebook
This just goes to show that our culture can be influenced through advertising. Think about how this can be applied to the Haunt industry. With the right advertising and branding campaigns, maybe one day attending a Haunted Attraction might be as popular as trick or treating on Halloween or like giving presents at Christmas time. Attracting new customers and big sponsors all starts with how we as an industry on the local level present ourselves. Your advertising campaigns must be as well thought out as your haunt if not more. Remember, perception is reality.