Saliency Sauce

We have just been served a week of saliency sauce at SCA and it has sparked a number of questions in my brain. Marc says salience is sexy! The Belvedere commercial with Daniel Craig is definitely something but I wouldn’t call it sexy. It is unexpected and addictive, I can’t quite explain what it is about this ad but it is the most salient commercial around right now. So, I decided to do some digging to understand this phenomenon better.

Salience is a term used in psychology. It is explained as the significant impact something has on stimulus. The easiest way to make salient stimulus, is by amplifying the intensity of the stimulus. For example, by increasing the volume when blowing a horn will certainly grab everyone’s attention. However, this is based on how far away from the horn the target audience are, because if you were deaf, you wouldn’t be frazzled by it at all. So, it is important to consider the persona and tailor the stimulus that would create salience. Giving a millionaire a £100 discount at a steak house wouldn’t shift any sales, but a £1 off on a sandwich for a student is likely to hit a few targets.

Salience can sometimes be dangerous. When trying to make a lot of noise, it is essential to be cautious of the impression the brand portrays. It is possible to fall into the trap of standing out for the wrong reasons, and this could be very damaging for the reputation of a brand. I’ve picked some things that echo salience to me and some that did it for the wrong reasons.

  1. Oasis adshel posters – Salient
Oasis - "It's summer. You're thirsty. We've got sales targets"

The simple truth about marketing is captured in a straightforward way in just a couple of sentences. This unusual behavior of an advert, makes this salient.

  1. Donald Trump – Not Salient

I’m not going to drop an image here and make this blog unpleasant. He is a former president of the United States of America who stood out for sure, but not for the right reasons! The hilarious headlines he made during his presidency are still mocked in several tv shows and will probably make it into history books. This is exactly the kind of attention; a brand doesn’t want to have.

  1. The three great pyramids of Giza – Salient 

There are many pyramids in Egypt but these three are the ones that made it famous. Is it because these are the tallest of them all? We have a number of tall buildings around the world that have used the same technique such as the Eiffel tower, Empire State Building and Burj Khalifa to name a few.

  1. McDonalds – Not Salient anymore
Russia McDonald's Replacement Unveils New Logo, Stylized 'M'

A brand that took a bad turn after going large! We all recognize the big “M” and probably have eaten at least one meal at McDonalds. How odd that the super-size didn’t work this time! As the awareness of obesity increased and its link to fast food this chain lost its once undisputable fame. It is still a favorite for many but the salience has worn off.

  1. New Year’s Eve Fireworks – Salient

Welcoming the new year with fireworks has been a tradition followed by many major cities which draws tourists. The whole experience of lights, colours, music and the atmosphere, all stimulate the senses creating salience.


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