opinion

Advertising is education

January 2017
Written by Prash Naidu

Advertising is education
Photo by Wokandapix

What is education? In its broadest sense we can call it a process which results in information being stored in the brain for an extended period of time.

We use information here in its broadest sense as taken from Information Theory. So not just facts and figures but all things the brain is able to store such as experiences and even muscle memory.

A student of Cognitive Science will know that different methods can be used to educate or train an individual and not all methods are equally efficient at the process. Passive Review and Active Recall are two important classifications that methods of education fall into.

Passive Review covers learning through observation. So learning when someone shows or says something to us. For example, being told the word for ball in a foreign language or watching someone play tennis.

Active Recall covers learning through doing or repetition. The equivalent to the above examples would be saying or repeating the word for ball and actually picking up a tennis raquet and hitting a ball.

It should come as no surprise that Active Recall is far more effective than Passive Review at educating an individual; the world’s education system is based on it. That’s why you had to do homework and that’s why teachers say “Now, repeat after me”.

Advertising can be seen as a process by which marketers aim to transmit information about their brands to their target audience. Most marketers would hope that this information persists in their audience’s consciousness for an extended period of time. In other words, they are looking to educate their audience about their brand with the hope that this improved understanding leads to a change in behaviour that is positive for the advertiser.

Current forms of advertising are based on Passive Review. Billboards, TV commercials and online banners all simply expose the audience to a message; it might come as no surprise that the efficiency of advertising is therefore low. This is particularly a problem online where a user is distracted by so much more information being presented to them.

However, online advertising has one thing going for it not available to other forms of advertising. This is the ability to interact with the audience and engage with them. Users of desktops, tablets and mobile devices are constantly interacting with their devices; something they don’t do with print or TV in the same way.

FreeWall® achieves Active Recall in a simple yet powerful manner by harnessing user engagement. The audience is exposed to a branding message which is followed by a multiple choice quiz; the user has to effectively repeat the marketing message to correctly answer the quiz. The user is motivated to do so as the reward for correctly answering the quiz is access to something desirable which could take the form of premium content or use of an app without payment.

It is due to Active Recall that FreeWall® is able to achieve brand recall figures that are vastly greater than what simple banners are able to generate. We believe that in time, all digital advertising will be engagement based; it’s simply far too good to remain otherwise.