Brand Advertising vs Mental Availability

Published by Isabel Smit


4 May 2023


Over the past few months, I have come to realise how mentally unavailable I am for many things. Balancing work and home and that never ending “To Do” list.

I must constantly shift things around to put the most important thing at the top of the list. There is too much happening at the same time, and I am sure it is the same for most people.

It is the same in the advertising space too. So many media platform opportunities and so much clutter.

Watching TV is no longer just watching TV. Multiple screens are open at the same time, TV upfront, tablet on the side with phone in hand, and while you have all those open, you also have a curious eye over the cartoon your little one is watching next to you.

So, would this mean more opportunities for a brand to reach a consumer? If I do not reach you with the TV ad, I might catch you on YouTube. That is true to a point. You might get my attention, but am I really seeing you? Simply grabbing consumer attention is not enough in today's conscious market. I need a brand to connect with me.

During Covid lockdown, a few brands managed to pull on our heartstrings. Enduring messages of encouragement and shoutouts of “together we are stronger,” and “we are here for you”. The timing was perfect, it is what we needed to hear. So why stop? The world is still a scary place out there.

Yes, we do need to drive sales. But do we still believe in the products or service that we advertise?

Consumers are more aware of the impact of their purchases on the environment, society, and their well-being. According to the 2022 McKinsey Consumer Sentiment Survey, 87% of South African Consumers describe their current economic situation as stretched. They are cutting back on spending and have the highest trade-down rate, with 32% of shoppers saying they will substitute branded products with cheaper alternatives.

The NielsenIQ study that appeared in the Brands Balancing Act, states 76% of South African respondents feel that if they look hard enough, they can find a brand that fits their exact needs. 48% feel that small brands are more authentic and trustworthy than big brands. 43% think that small brands are usually more expensive, but are prepared to pay a bit more. We need to approach these factors with a conscious mindset that considers the impact on the environment, society, and the well-being of the consumer.

Brands invest millions of rands each year in advertising to capture the attention of consumers and make a lasting impression. However, many companies overlook the importance of brand advertising and focus solely on promoting their products or services. Brands must ensure that their advertising aligns with their values and communicates them consistently across all channels.

Be consistent and drive with frequency but build that emotional connection with the consumer. Aim to be relevant by understanding the needs and interests of the target audience. Bring back the brand advertising and show who you are and what you stand for. Show your authenticity and show that we are stronger together. Let us cultivate mental availability in our consumers by being true to ourselves as brands!


  • McKinsey and Company

  • Bizcommunity

  • Nielse