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Madison Avenue saying “Hello” again

May 25, 2007

Advertisers of products from cell phones to retirement plans and hard liquor are using the greeting “Hello” to attract consumer attention, The New York Times reported Thursday. The word’s marketing connotations range from the logical — like in Apple’s iPhone ads — to the upbeat (“Hello tomorrow” for Avon Products, and “Hello future” for Lincoln Financial Group) and the enticing, like “Hello delicious” in ads for Level vodka. At least half a dozen advertising campaigns are using the greeting, the paper reported.

Building a campaign around “Hello” is “a friendly, more engaging way to connect with consumers, but it’s pretty overused,” Allen P. Adamson, managing director at New York brand and corporate identity firm Landor Associates was quoted as saying.

“Hello” and its variants have been employed as marketing devices before, going back to when Jack Benny introduced his radio show with “Jell-O again,” a play on his sponsor’s brand name. In 1984, Apple introduced the Macintosh in print ads with just one word, “Hello,” on the computer’s screen. The welcoming salutation can help humanize technology products and let people feel more comfortable about them, NYT reported.

The greeting might also make financial products seem less daunting. “We don’t want people approaching their retirement with fear or apprehension,” David Wozniak, assistant vice president for corporate branding at Lincoln National Corp. in Philadelphia, was quoted as saying. The Lincoln campaign appears to have started the current “Hello” trend in spring of 2005. — Compiled by Greg Beaubien for Tactics and The Strategist Online

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