How Many Impressions will “Make it Work”?

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One of the big debates in marketing is how many impressions does it take to move a customer to action. Is it one big bang, three, five, a hundred? Thinking about this in particular as I realized I had been walking past these Project Runway phone booth ads multiple times a day for a month – and realized I never retained when it was going to air again – mainly because the creative was so distracting.

Tim Gunn Season 9 Project Runway Poster

Why is Heidi Klum naked? Why is she cutting a tie in half? Is Tim Gunn’s expression bewildered or just tired? Where did the “it” go? A few weeks ago, I made myself actually stop and look at the ad to see when it was going to air; registered that it wasn’t imminent; and promptly forgot. Earlier this week, I had a vague notion while I flipped the channels that it might be on, but I could not find it. Funnily enough, I looked at the ad again today and realized, hey! It’s tonight! At nine! Maybe I will even watch it.

Admittedly, I am an ambivalent consumer of TV. Other than Pat Kiernan of NY1, whose “In the Papers” is as vital to my morning routine as coffee, I don’t watch anything consistently.  But I actually like Project Runway and will watch it if I can. I just read Tim Gunn’s turn at AdWeek’s “Information Diet” and commiserated with his Sudoku habit. But it took at least 50 – maybe even 100 – times of seeing that ad to process when the show is airing. I’m writing about it, but I’m not sure that’s effective creative. But again, I also didn’t get sick of it after that many impressions.

Now, I just need remember to turn on the TV in about four hours and actually see it.

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