In this advertisement, a red ball travels through the maze to the target point via the shortest possible route, after which is it transported through an invisible conveyor belt (built within the advertisement) back to the start point to begin the journey again. Again, it reaches the target via the shortest route.
This is a clever strategy as the movement is likely to catch our eye, and take attention away from other stationary adverts. People will stop and watch the maze, to see if the ball will reach its destination. They will probably watch it twice, to see if the ball goes on the same journey every time. As this advert was originally placed in an airport, chances are that many bored travellers waiting for delayed flights watched it many times, and can confirm the ball goes on the exact same route every time! There may be a frequency effect (we think more favourably of things we have seen often, and for longer, (Zajonc,1968)) as the advert is likely to be looked at for prolonged periods, the fact that it is a clever advert means many bored passengers are likely to stare at it for a while to try and figure out how the mechanics behind the advert work. The longer they stare at the advert, the more likely they are to remember the company.
This advert cleverly uses the illustration of ‘the right way’ through the maze, with the association with the choice of using DHL being ‘the right choice’. DHL is a delivery service, and so it is clever that the ball’s journey and safe delivery (every time) is metaphorically emphasising the way they want the consumer to think of the company. The use of metaphors has been found to be a successful persuasive method, especially visually (like the maze) as McQuarrie and Phillips (2005) found a higher level of persuasion when a visual metaphor was used, as opposed to a plain statement or even a verbal metaphor.
The advert is also very creative and unique, these types of adverts tend to be more eye-catching but it has also been found that unique advertisements are remembered better than ordinary adverts (Delozier, 1976). Altsech (1997) found that creative adverts elicited more favourable attitudes towards the brand, as well as higher recall rates.
In summary: creativity and uniqueness, particularly with regards to the metaphorical message behind the advert, as well as the frequency with which the consumer is likely to watch the advert (both due to its location, and curiosity) are the advert’s greatest strengths.
- Altsech, M. B. (1997). The assessment of creativity in advertising and the effectiveness of creative advertisements. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, 57, 3585-3585.
- DeLozier, M. W. (1976). The Marketing Communications Process, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.
- McQuarrie, E. F., & Phillips, B. J. (2005). Indirect persuasion in advertising: How consumers process metaphors presented in pictures and words. Journal of Advertising, 34, 7-20.
- Zajonc, R. B. (1968)The attitudinal effects of mere exposure, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Monograph Supplement, 9, 1-27.