Lights, Camera, Action

In my Writing and Reporting Principles class, I interviewed one of my professors for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Drake University. Sandy Henry talked about her interests in advertising, what makes good advertisements successful, and her passion for Super Bowl advertisements. Below is my Q & A article about the interview.

Superbowl Advertisement Sparks Professor’s Passion

Sandy Henry’s life changed all because of an Apple advertisement. The company’s 1984 advertisement was not only a critical turning point in Henry, but for how everyone would view technology. Henry continues to implement her passion for advertising and production both through research and working for Drake University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Her hope is to use her knowledge and experience to further educate students about advertising.

Roudabush:

What key components do you think make an advertisement successful?

Henry:

I don’t think that you can take advertising on the whole and say, ‘If you do this, this will work.’ It’s more of a behind-the-scenes thing. I think the most important thing is understanding who the target audience is for the message and saying something to them that is important to them. … I think way too many people just try to tell people a thing. ‘Well, we just need to tell people this.’ No, what you need to do is find out who’s really interested. … Then you have to make sure that people understand why it’s meaningful to them, or why it would be interesting for them to do it.

Roudabush:

Is there a common mistake people make in advertising?

Henry:

Not understanding what’s important to your audience. One of the ethical choices in regard to diversity, equity, and inclusion, that’s a big mistake is, if you’re going to take a stand, you gotta take a stand and stay behind it. You can’t say something and then back away from it, because the consumer is way too smart. They’re not going to be like, ‘Oh, that’s fine.’ No, they’re not. We’re all way too smart.

Roudabush:

How is Superbowl advertising different from everyday advertising?

Henry:

Because it’s part of the entertainment. In everyday advertising there’s a strong argument that can be made that entertaining advertising is more effective, but it isn’t necessarily. Very rarely is that the case during the Superbowl. Do you see people running ads that are meant to solve problems? You’re not going to see ads about ‘take Advil for your achy knees’ during the Superbowl. You’re going to see ads that are like, ‘Let’s go have a party—and we can do this because we’re taking Advil.’ That’s everything (during the Superbowl). Fifty percent of the people who watch the Superbowl are watching it to see the ads in the game.

Roudabush:

Since they’re so different, do you believe one is more effective than the other or do they each have their own place?

Henry:

I think they each have their place. Superbowl advertising is effective in two ways. One is to reinforce an already existing brand, or the other is to launch something. The Superbowl is great for that. The Superbowl is not great at producing ads that solve every day needs for people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *