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What Advertisers can learn from This is Us

It’s Tuesday night. 8:58 pm. You’re racing to the sofa to be sure you don’t miss a minute of what the Pearson crew has been up to.

7.67 million viewers did the same last Tuesday night, tuning into the Season 4 premiere of This is Us. In today’s Netflix/Amazon/Hulu binge-devoted world, appointment TV viewing like this is rare. It’s not often people across the country stop what they’re doing to watch live TV anymore. So why the draw?

2019 Promo Poster for Season 4.

It’s right in the title. It’s us. This show is about us. About you and me, and the very relatable scenarios we all face in our lives. Lots of other shows win by giving us a peek into worlds we don’t know. Like the courtrooms and crime scenes of Law & Order, or the operating rooms in Grey’s Anatomy (for those who still watch). This is Us wins by hitting us right in the gut – every week.

It makes us feel.

Happy, sad, nostalgic, devastated – and that’s usually in the first 10 minutes. It’s the show that says, “We get you, and we get this thing called the human condition – so let’s enjoy the ride, together.” So what can advertisers learn – and how can we connect with our audiences – how can we make them feel something?

  1. Do your homework. Know your target audiences inside and out. Not just their incomes and towns – but their motivations, their values. Know how they feel, to make them feel. It can be as simple as a survey or focus group to start.
  2. Appeal to emotion. Rather than selling features and benefits, sell your experience. The experience your customers will have – how you’ll make their life better. If you’re a brand dealing in major life decisions, for example, a senior living provider, or a college or university, create campaigns that show you truly understand the emotions involved in the move. If you’re a bank, show how partnering with you will make your customers’ lives better – not just how much your low interest rates can save them.
  3. Have a one-on-one conversation. Treat every piece of communication – email, digital, social, print, mail, outdoor, your on-hold message, your in-person experience – every single touchpoint – as a one-on-one conversation. Create custom messaging for each unique audience – your “Kate,” your “Kevin,” your “Randall,” your “Rebecca.” You may find your customers fit into one of several personas – map these to design communications that speak to each of them. Marketing is never one size fits all. (And as anyone who watched last week knows, you’ll always have new characters showing up – get to know them, too.)

Happy viewing.

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We’re Triad Advertising. We’ve been building healthy brands for 25 years.

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