Punch Vs. Pace: How Does Your Brand Win?

The age-old question in advertising (business, dating and overall human relations) is the debate of Punch versus Pace: which is more effective?

For Punchers:

Ardent believers in the big bang approach to advertising, it is far better to spend heavy resources upfront to make an indelible impression in the mind of the consumer (client, date or UN member nation) – counting on the permanence of that impression to block the competition and hold sway over the market.

For Pacers:

Philosophically more aligned with beliefs such as Repetition is Reputation, Out of Sight Out of Mind and The Hare Ultimately Wins, it is far better to stretch their marketing spend over the long haul – counting on the ubiquity of that exposure to block the competition and hold sway over the market.

And the answer is…

Several years ago, it seems the answer to Punch v. Pace was writ large in the night sky over Oban in Argyll, Scotland as the annual, 20-minute fireworks celebration of Guy Fawkes Day exploded in a gorgeous 50 seconds. Something had gone horribly wrong as hundreds of fireworks exploded in less than a minute.


Then poof. It was over.

And as the stunned audience stared at the now smoking but otherwise empty black sky, no one complained. Not one. No one asked for his/her money back. No one booed. Instead, they cheered those fiery 50 seconds and what they described as the “best fireworks display they’ve ever seen.”

As I see it:

The fireworks of Oban in Argyll delivered far more punch in 50 seconds than it ever could have in the scheduled 20 minutes. No one who saw that is likely to forget it. And, thanks to CNN and YouTube, Oban in Argyll, Scotland is now on the global map in a way that only Punch can deliver. The problem for Pacers is that the ubiquity of their advertising is dependent on budget. The problem for Punchers is that the indelibility of their impression is dependent on memory.

Budgets, memories and aging global population aside, I’m going with Punch.