I’m an immigrant, just like all New Zealanders. I arrived here in January 2008 from South Africa. Now you most likely have heard about the madness that is South Africa so I wont go into it any further. Except to say that it wasn’t the deadly bleakness running rampant through the country that made me decide it was time to grab my family and leave. There were so many reasons to leave and just as many to stay. What finally made me leave was an advert.

It wasn’t a beautifully shot television commercial proclaiming that New Zealand was the place to be. Nor a beautiful, full page ad in a lush magazine. It was a newspaper ad and I can remember it as clearly now as the day I first read it. It was simple. It was one colour. It was one column wide (about 4 centimetres) and 4 centimetres high. Half the size of a business card. In a serif font, perhaps Times, it read: “Thinking of immigrating to Canada, Australia or New Zealand? Contact Network Immigration to find out if it’s possible.” There was a telephone number and a web address.

I got in touch with Network Immigration and after some brief chit-chat I was told there would be a free seminar at a hotel near my offices and if I’d like more info I should attend. Three days later I went to that hotel, and walked into a conference room packed with people, somewhere in the region of 200 stuffed into a room best suited for 50. There wasn’t a seat to be found. I ended up sitting against a wall midway down the room. I took notes and listened intently. Six months later I was living in New Zealand with my family. So yes, advertising does work. Without doubt.

But there’s always a crack in every theory, and this is mine: what truly matters in the wide world of advertising is what you say and whether consumers give a damn to pay attention to it.