Burger King mold ad

On the power of the advertising double whammy

Advertising often focuses on one of two things: a specific message about a product, or a wider piece of long-term branding. But, says Ben Kay, the holy grail comes when you can achieve both in one campaign

Advertising can be divided into two different kinds of message: information and awareness. Some people divide the same two things under the names of ‘marketing’ and ‘brand’, but what it really comes down to is that sometimes you’re telling people something new about yourself and sometimes you’re just reminding people that you exist.

In practice the two often cross over with each other. It’s been said that every ad is a brand ad in one way or another, and information always comes with awareness, but I’m talking about the difference between ‘Sainsbury’s: Live Well For Less’, and ‘25% off asparagus at Sainsbury’s’.

But every now and again, you get a full dose of both messages in one. A wider brand communication can be hidden inside the trojan horse of something more specific, giving the client a double whammy that might generate a sale today, and several more in a year’s time.

First is the Mouldy Whopper. To explain that their burgers are going to stop using artificial preservatives, Burger King showed us in revolting close-up that they will indeed go mouldy after five weeks, while McDonald’s offerings stay disturbingly immaculate for decades.


Milton Keynes