Professional Jeweler Archive: The Power of Three

January 2004


The Power of Three

A consumer has to see your ad three times before she or he remembers you

Do you remember the fairy tales you read as a child? When witches cast a spell, they repeated an incantation three times. It’s why we still say “three’s the charm.” There’s nothing magical about the number three, but it does have power – the power to make your store top of mind.

Research shows the average consumer must be exposed to the same message at least three times before it sticks. Sad but true. The first time consumers notice your advertisement, it leaves a minimal impression. Your television ad may be as short as 30 seconds and is crowded by dozens of other 30-second spots vying for attention. Worse, the customer you’re trying to reach can leave the room to get a snack, surf to another channel or chat with someone – ignoring your little ad completely.

The second time that customer sees your ad, you’ll get a bit more of your money’s worth. Still, you won’t make any lifelong friends. This time, consumers start asking themselves, “Where have I heard that name before?” Or if your message was particularly clever, “Hey, I remember them ... and I liked what they had to say!”

It’s not until the third time the incantation truly takes effect. After being introduced to you over and over, consumers will finally remember your name and what you stand for.

“Great!” you’re thinking. “All I have to do is make sure people see or hear my ads at least three times.” But that’s easier said than done.

Where to Reach Them

Do you know where your customer is every minute of the day? Is she watching television? What programs? Is he listening to the radio? Maybe, but is he tuned in to the same call letters all day or flipping back and forth? Are they both reading the newspaper? What section? How big does your ad have to be before they notice it?

This is no hit-or-miss proposition. A smart media buyer with a good media-buying software program can answer most of these questions for you, based on Arbitron and Nielsen ratings and demographic information about your target audience. Usually you can hire a media buyer to place your commercials and pay no more than if you placed them yourself. That’s because TV and radio stations and some print publications grant you a 15% discount for using an agency.

Be Consistent

The power of three doesn’t end there. Other factors to consider include the consistency of your message and your medium. First, don’t switch back and forth between different types of media, using radio one week, newspaper the next and then be out of circulation entirely for six months. Stick with one medium long enough to get results. You can use more than one form of advertising at the same time. Just stay with each one long enough for your message to take hold.

Second, use a consistent, effective format. If your message keeps changing, consumers will think they’re meeting a new advertiser each time – not the same advertiser for the third time. Emphasize one important message over and over, make it attention-getting and always state your store’s name, address and tag line the same way.

– by Denise Meyer

Denise Meyer is creative director for Fruchtman Marketing, a full-service agency in Toledo, OH, representing independent jewelers throughout the U.S. Reach the agency by contacting Ellen Fruchtman at (419) 539-2770,,

These ads for Harry Winston appeared widely during the holiday season in newspapers and luxury magazines. They feature a consistent message, a similar look and the same logo each time.

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications