I started working in advertising more than a quarter of a century ago, a lot has changed over that time, but one thing stays the same…and I have finally found the right phrase to define it: captivate the captive.

Media channels will come and go, with time the unconventional becomes the conventional and new forms of engagement step up as the new unconventional. Consumers grow up too and brands that appeal to a specific age group, adapt their media mix to the media consumption preferences of the new audiences they must address.

Today, data and analysis can help us identify more than what channels to use. They can guide us in developing the right content and the right message. We can personalize our message and can even make sure it reaches the audience member at a time when data has assured us that we will have their “undivided attention.”

The information we have at our disposal today, (thanks to data scientists and technology), is quite impressive. We have come a long way from those good old pre-testing focus groups where a well-versed mediator is front and center trying to extract opinions from a small sample of our target audience while using sketches on foam boards as visual aides to guide the group’s imagination.

But our objective has never changed has it?

CAPTIVATE: Create messages and content that generates interest and intrigue. Content that focuses more on the emotional than on the functional. Messages, promises, actions that generate appreciation, tickle aspirations and fill a need. Words like “disruptive” fit in here too, but if you know me, you know that I have a problem with trending words created to show that we are “in with the times.”

THE CAPTIVE: The audience, the person whom you have profiled and want to engage. In the past we used to say that people in the cinema are “captive audiences,” because they couldn’t go anywhere, they were stuck watching our ads as they waited for the movie to start. Today though, our obsession with our laptops and handheld devices makes us potential captives at all times. Yes, its true the audience can very easily scroll past your post, or skip your video in five seconds, but for those precious seconds, they are our “captives”.

CAPTIVATE THE CAPTIVE: It really is that simple, that’s what we are here to do, no fancy words, no algorithms needed: create the right message that makes them stop, consider and act.