Method Overview

Some consider Method Advertising difficult to teach. Partially this is because of a common misconception that there is a single "method" especially where the conventional wisdom expects a “process.” This plurality and ambiguity can make it hard to teach a single method. It is also partially because sometimes Method Advertising is criticized by traditionalists as lacking in any specific or technical approach to Advertising, while the abundance of agile and flexible methods in other disciplines (i.e. software engineering, architecture and the theater arts) contradicts this.

In general, however, Method Advertising combines a careful consideration of the psychological (as well as social, cultural and anthropological) motives of the user and some sort of personal identification with (persona mapping) and possibly the reproduction of the user's emotional state (rapid prototyping) in a realistic way. It usually forms an antithesis to clichéd, unrealistic, or indicated Advertising without relying upon the myth of genius* . Mostly, however, the surmising done about the user and the elusive, capricious or sensitive nature of emotions combine to make method Advertising difficult to teach. This becomes acutely true in the current light of business and marketing where the prevailing belief does not recognize emotion as the “prime motivator” despite the hue and cry of many countervailing arguments and much lip service to customer centric models.

In Method Advertising, exchange refers to the method of understanding elements in the life of one's user by comparing them to elements in one's own life instead of relying solely on anecdotal or quantitative user representation thereby balancing the emotional stake between advertiser (author) and user.

For example, if an advertiser is portraying a user who is facing a lonely existence because of bad breath, he or she could think back to some embarrassing or private fact about his or her own heinous breath, and mentally superimpose that onto the user's “secret” problem. This is associated with the realism-driven Advertising Method and can be either quite comical or quite dramatic depending on what “The Brand” can believeably execute. (In this particular example I am hard pressed to think of a brand that could be believeably dramatic).

Exchange can be emotionally challenging, even uncomfortable, but supporters (successful consultive sales people who practice this naturally) argue it produces a more relevant and resonant narrative than trying to understand a user's motivations without reference to one's own life.

The essence, the central truth, of Method Advertising is a highly uncomfortable proposition. It requires emotional currency, the desire to step to the margin of our emotional life and the embrace of common fucking sense. Quite a tall order.

More to come