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Is it time to change the theme of your message?

By October 29, 2012No Comments

I’ve witnessed an about face by two major companies in their advertising theme. DriveTime and J.G. Wentworth have shifted from their “humorous” or light-hearted advertising to ads designed to pull on one’s heart or convey compassion and understanding.

DriveTime entered the market with a series of ads that were in my opinion silly and good for a chuckle. Well see for yourself.




J.G. Wentworth produced an opera using it’s jingle and I haven’t met the person who can’t sing along.

Both of these companies have switched to a different kind of appeal in their message. They’re no longer using humor but instead are attempting to connect on a different emotional level. The ads aim to connect to the heart by telling compassionate stories and how each brand was able to help families in tough situations. Consumers are then to make the leap that these brands will help their family too because they identified with the message.

The beautiful thing about marketing and advertising is that you’re not stuck to just one message and one presentation of that message.

If you find out that humor isn’t working and you’re audience isn’t connecting, you can change your message. There are costs associated but you don’t have to continue telling a story that doesn’t connect.

There are a couple of different ways you can appeal to your audience. There are rational appeals, moral appeals and emotional appeals.

Rational appeals show and tell the audience that their product will give you the desired results you’re looking for whether that’s whiter whites or precision handling. Rational appeals speaks to the self-interest of the target audience. Moral appeals are directed to our sense of right and wrong. Ads that emphasize cleaner air or race equality, do urge us to do the right thing and are typically used to garner support for social causes.

Emotional appeals especially humorous ones tend to be a favorite of most Americans. So you can see why DriveTime and J.G. Wentworth went for the sure bet and decided on a humorous approach. But right after the 9/11 attacks, themes from advertisers changed because the American public wanted assurance. So themes that had to do with safety and security or family closeness and giving connected with American consumers.

DriveTime and J.G. Wentworth used emotional appeals but different emotions in each of their campaigns.

Everyone knows these past few years have been a little rough economically for lots of families so DriveTime and J.G. Wentworth were correct in changing their theme.

Here is DriveTime’s new ad.


J.G. Wentworth followed with a similar approach. The emotional approach changed. Now, the companies are viewed as understanding to the plight of many Americans and assuring the audience that they can assist them too. These ads may be better suited to connect with today’s consumer as the economy slowly gets back on pace.

If these two companies can shift their appeal and theme, so can you.

Research will tell you your audience’s mood and based on that research you can shift your message’s theme and continue to connect with your audience.

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