Recently, one of my friends and I have been watching Mad Men. It’s a show about the advertising business in the early 1960s in New York City. It’s phenomenal. We’ve been renting the DVDs at Gannon’s library; you can take out movies for free!
I’m a communication arts major, so I learn about the advertising business. Last semester, I took a class on writing commercials for TV, radio and Internet (including mobile Web). We learned a number of techniques; one of the big ones was something called the “feature-benefit complex.” I was excited when we learned this because I had already read about it on Seth Godin’s (marketing guru) blog. I felt like I was being taught real-deal information. When the “mad men” were showing a client their idea for a commercial, I recognized their use of the feature-benefit complex. I was thrilled.
I can’t just talk about the feature-benefit complex without telling you what it is. So, I’m going to let you in on a secret of the advertising industry: a good commercial doesn’t list a bunch of features of a product. Instead, it takes one of the features and makes us want the product because we want the feeling the product can provide. For example, a good commercial about a wrist watch won’t say, “This watch has a built-in light, a timer, a stopwatch, and a GPS system.” It’ll say something along the lines of, “With this watch’s GPS system, you’ll always be in a safe place.”
Whether you want to be a communications major or not, the next time you watch TV, remember you don’t have to be bored during commercials. See if you can figure out the feeling that is being sold… it’s fun!
And don’t worry, it’s not just the communications department that has fantastic professors. Gannon only chooses the best.
Check out other Edge Blogs or see what other communication arts majors are up to at Gannon’s on-campus, student-run radio station, 90.5 WERG.