Blog Insight

What the Buffet Line Tells Us about Advertising

A while ago, I found myself at a buffet (don’t ask). It was a nice one. The shiny white plates were perfectly stacked at the start, and 40 feet down the line was a chocolate waterfall fountain thing. I’m sure it acted as a visual grand finale to the buffet line experience, but I digress.

What struck me as funny were the people going through the line adding food to their plates. Once every square inch of plate surface was covered, they started piling the food up. By the time they made their way to the chocolate waterfall, their plates looked almost like food soccer balls. Their meal became everything and nothing. It never had a chance.

There’s a lesson here for advertisers.

Great campaigns are less like a buffet and more like a multiple-course fine-dining experience: more plates delivering discrete parts of a larger and ultimately more memorable experience. You don’t have to spend more. It’s how you use your budget that counts.

As a recent example, GLG’s clients at Blink Device Company understood this. With a limited budget and a clear picture of their target audience, they used multiple media channels to reach the audience about an innovative new product, GelAuto, a wearable, electronic hand gel dispenser. No single ad or advertising channel tried to explain the whole GelAuto experience. Some pieces teased. Others informed. And some flat out asked for the order. The sales cycle was deliberate and engaging.

Print and display ads introduce the product.


Targeted social posts reinforce the messaging and go into more depth.



A longer-form ad provides more information and a direct call to action.



Consider the customer journey.

Colorful charts are helpful. Here’s one way we visualize the customer journey and how we leverage different tactics to communicate to audiences with the right message at the right time. With a plan like this, that ball of food is better served over a longer and more satisfying period of time. Dishes complement each other, and the meal begins to make sense.


Resist temptation and reap the rewards.

Advertising is exciting, and the temptation to fully capitalize on a single execution is totally understandable. But when you allow each piece to do a more focused job, your audience will see different sides of your product or brand and be able to better digest what you’re offering. GLG advertising and media experts can help talk you through an integrated strategy and present a plan that takes your audience on a much more effective journey, leaving plenty of room for chocolate nirvana.