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Cut the Mystery Man Act

October 22, 2008  

Is it more effective to tell customers your brand name right away in advertising? Or is it better to create a little mystery, and reveal the brand name only at the end of the ad, once you've intrigued them?

One might think that it's better to create some mystery. (After all, who doesn't love a Mystery Man?) Holding off the brand-name reveal might sustain customer attention, and make people focus on the ad for a longer period of time. Right? Well, wait just a minute, there, folks.

Research is showing that a customer's memory for ads and brands is actually better when the brand name is presented early in the ad. (Think: "Nike's newest cross-trainer" vs "A great new athletic shoe!")

The reason? Researchers suggest that an early statement of the brand name helps customers more easily recognize what brand and product category is being advertised. And if they have a positive image of it, they'll read, view, or listen further. Subsequent information can then be encoded with this frame of reference in mind—giving you a better chance of making your message stick.


So even though creating an air of mystery in an ad is fun, and it might draw customers in, it's best to make sure you work your brand name into the mix right at the start as well.

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