Roy Williams, the self-proclaimed “wizard of ads,” gave AirTime 500 members a seminar on effective advertising.
DALLAS - Roy Williams, the author of the popular bookWizard of Ads, took time out to visit Dallas and discuss effective advertising with AirTime 500 members.

One of the first things Williams discussed was confidence: Those who have it will be successful. "Selling is a transference of confidence," he said. "People say yes if they are confident that you know what you are talking about. Be an expert and tell the truth."

Willams talked about the importance of auditory signals versus visual signals when used in advertising. "It takes 28 percent longer to understand the written word than the spoken word," he said. "Visual is secondary, sound is primary, according to characteristics of the brain."

He said that procedural memory in the brain is affected by involuntary and automatic recall, citing the fact that if a person is over age 13, he or she can sing over 2,000 songs - none of which were intentionally learned.

"Branding occurs in procedural memory when the name of the company or product appears in the person's mind at the precise moment of their need," Williams stated. "A verbal suggestion can create a visual memory."

He said that a greater visual memory occurs when the word "smashed" is used to describe an accident between two cars as opposed to the term "made contact." "Words are the most powerful force there has ever been," he stated.

The Tug-Of-Wars

Williams said the mind goes through several tug-of-wars when deciphering advertising messages including:

1. Intellect vs. emotion. Williams said the best ads are about the customers and what the advertiser's products will do to change their world. In other words, what is in it for the customer.

2. Fact vs. imagination. He said that people demand facts in a concise, well-presented manner. "Category dominance will always be the key to marketing in a time-starved society," Williams said.

3. Sight vs. sound. Sound is easier than sight for ad messages, according to Williams. He cited the example of the musical line from the old Winston cigarette commercials - "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should." It was replaced by a written slogan, which none of the several hundred people in the audience could recall. He pointed out, "Yet you remember an advertising slogan that hasn't played in over 30 years."

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Publication date: 05/24/2004