How You Can Market For Free!

April 30, 2007 Blog 6 comments

In the world of advertising, the first and most important rule is to capture one’s attention. This is the basis for the age-old acronym AIDA, which is namely:

Attraction – Grabbing their attention from amidst the sea of clutter.
Interest – Drawing your audience to view/read/listen further.
Desire – Making them want/need/lust after your stuff.
Action – Where the wallet meets the business owner.
The chief problem? Many advertisers do not think hard enough about differentiating themselves from the hoi polloi. They just copy what everybody else does, modify the message and creative slightly, then stick it on to their ads, say a prayer, and hope that they will come and buy. Few bother about how their creative and messages will affect customer perceptions.

Let me cite a case in point. Lately, I have noticed this billboard placed outside Outram Park MRT en route to Pearl’s Centre.


Look closer and you will see that most of these posters are very literal and in-your-face. Headlines like “Room for Rent”, “Specialised in Restoration, Servicing and Repair of Watches….” and “Cheap Shop Space” scream at you. These advertisements look hastily and cheaply put together. Some come with handphone numbers that you can readily tear out.

While advertising here is virtually “free” except for the cost of paper and printing (you don’t have to pay LTA to stick your poster on), I wonder if it can pass the AIDA test. Will your advertisement stand out from the rest? More importantly, will it instil desire or more importantly confidence in those who see it?

Sometimes, the best things in life aren’t free.

Well, at least they don’t just stick them all over the place and we can see why below!


By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


  1. I won’t be surprised if some pple do response to those hasty and cheap posters. :O
    They target a different market/ audience, hahahah!

  2. Interestingly, I saw a couple of young guys peering at some of the posters in the signboards. Some of the phone numbers were also torn off, perhaps indicating interest? Well, I guess this may work for small time entrepreneurs catering to certain cost conscious markets!

  3. jean-luc,

    No problem. You do have a very interesting blog concept which is different from most I visited. AIDA still works even though its ancient.

  4. zeezee, free is always a BIG draw for Singaporeans…. After handling consumer and lifestyle marketing for close to 7 years now, that’s the strongest word in our vocabulary!

Join The Discussion

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

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>