Sequential Advertising Makes Print Stick

In the late 1920’s, a company called Burma-Shave began using sequential advertising to enhance their branding, and it worked. The small series of road signs, each containing the next verse of a poem, were a big hit for consumers. They were entertained by the message, and they remembered the brand. It was a success for everyone. 

Today’s consumers are savvier to gimmicky advertising, but Burma-Shave’s tactics may have a place in some markets. Sequential advertising certainly has a place in print marketing strategies. 

What is Sequential Advertising? 

Sequential advertising is advertising that takes place over a certain timeframe. In the case of Burma-Shave, this was a few minutes on the roadway. In digital advertising, it may occur over multiple visits to a website. It can be used in newspapers, magazines, posters, and virtually any advertising medium. 

The purpose of sequential advertising is to tell a story. Consumers must be drawn to the story by an interesting hook but also realize that there is more to come. In this way, the consumer is encouraged to continue interacting with your brand. Each interaction enhances brand recognition.

Planning Your Sequential Advertising Story

Sequential advertising is strategic and requires planning. This first thing that you have to plan is your message. Are you simply trying to entertain your target market to gain some brand recognition, or are you introducing a new product feature? These types of questions will change the story you tell throughout your ad. 

Placement of the ads is also important, primarily in print marketing. In digital marketing, bots can be used to sequence advertising regardless of where the consumer reaches the ad. However, print advertising requires planned exposure. People aren’t likely to hunt for the next part of the story. 

Subscription media such as newspapers and magazines are a good way to semi-guarantee exposure. You already know your consumer likes the media enough to pay for it, and they are likely to see your ad because of it. You can also put poster advertisements near each other for a shorter time frame approach. 

Don’t limit yourself by terms such as “sequential” or “time frame.” These terms are not semantically static. Sequential may be in reference to a timeline, or it may be in reference to an image or other attribute of a message. Creativity is the name of the game in a world filled with advertising ploys and skeptical consumers, so feel free to think outside of the box. Loosely use the recommended tactics above and share your success!