Actor Advertising 101

Understanding the ideas of "Consistency" and "The Exposure Effect" are important in gauging your marketing efforts

Written by Sean Pratt

Understanding the ideas of “Consistency” and “The Exposure Effect” are important in gauging your advertising efforts

In the world of advertising there is an on-going problem when it comes to getting a message out to the public. On the one hand they must be sure the information about a product/service is consistent in the mediums they advertise in. But if they continue to send out the exact same images and style of presentation for too long, the public will grow weary of it.

Actors face the same conundrum in their attempts to gain and hold the attention of casting directors, etc. But by understanding the concepts of “Consistency” and “The Exposure Effect”, they’ll be better able to navigate this tricky terrain.


The principle of “Consistency” is that people find it easier to understand and/or use things when the information is presented in the same way every time. Here are the four categories of “Consistency” along with an example of how you could use them.

  • Aesthetic Consistency – Means that the appearance of your materials is the same. This allows someone to recognize that that particular thing is from you. So find one font and use it for your resume, correspondence and the text of your flyers, etc.; if you have a logo or catchphrase, be sure it goes on all your related materials.
  • Functional Consistency – Is when the meaning and action of something is consistent. This will allow people to learn and then use the thing you’ve sent them. So when you’re designing your new Audio CD or DVD reel, be sure to make it easy to navigate and save the “artsy” design for the packaging.
  • Internal Consistency – Means that your advertising materials are consistent with one another, showing that they were designed as one idea and not cobbled together. This has really become an issue for actors who have websites as well as Facebook Fan Pages, IActor accounts and a separate talent page on their agent’s website. Since they’re all pieces of an overall internet marketing effort, make doubly sure that all the links actually navigate to the correct page and that the information is the same across all the platforms.
  • External Consistency – Refers to how one element is linked to all the others like it in the same medium. If the industry standard for Audio CD’s is to have it packaged in a jewel case with your name along the spine, then having yours in a paper sleeve will not be externally consistent with all the others out there…also, it’ll look tacky!

The Exposure Effect

Now let’s turn to the “Exposure Effect”, which is when some form of communication is repeatedly shown to the public and they respond favorably to it; think of songs, pictures, slogans and icons. But there’s a catch, after the initial positive recognition takes place, the power of this effect weakens the more times someone is exposed to that specific thing. This means that sending the same postcard every week to a casting director or agent is ultimately counterproductive The same simple picture, seen too often, will lose its novelty.

To harness this idea, create interesting advertising materials and separate your messages by a period of delay between each one. It’s better to send one postcard every month or two and/or create a different one each time. Since your target audience in this case is relatively small and because you can create these things on your own, the cost shouldn’t be too expensive.

The flipside of this would be to saturate them for a brief period of time with materials about some special event, such as your big part in a show while it’s playing in hopes of having them come. The challenge is to create something distinctive for each piece of advertising; a poster, a review sheet, a personal letter, etc. At the end of that short period of time, you’d need to hold off sending them anything for a while. Otherwise, because of the “Exposure Effect”, they’ll begin to block out or even stop looking at your ads altogether.

“Repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers.” – Elizabeth Arden


Sean Pratt, (AEA / SAG / AFTRA), has been a working actor for over 20 years. Sean was a member of the resident acting company at The Pearl Theatre, an Off-Broadway classical repertory theatre and has also performed at numerous regional theatres around the country.  Major films include – Gods and Generals, Tuck Everlasting and Iron Jawed Angels. Television work includes – The host of HGTV’s, Old Homes Restored, and supporting roles on Homicide, The District and America’s Most Wanted.  Audiobooks – He’s narrated for 15 years and has recorded nearly 550 books in just about every genre.  He also teaches classes on and writes articles about the business of the Biz.

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