Primary demand stimulation refers to advertising messages that promote the merits of a product category rather than a particular brand. It contrasts select demand stimulation where advertisers pay to promote their brand as superior to competitors. Though not as common, primary demand ads do serve a purpose in specific instances.


The major purpose of primary demand ads is either to inform customers about a brand new product or technology that they are unfamiliar with, or to persuade customers that they haven't recognized the benefits of a given product. Primary demand ads are commonly paid for by industry associations made up of a number of top providers in a category. These companies recognize that for any of them to achieve individual success, the industry and products must be valuable to customers.

New Products

Primary demand is typically used in one of two scenarios: to launch a completely new product category or to garner more attention to an under-appreciated category. The idea behind new product primary demand is that before a pioneer can promote its benefits, the product category must be explained to target customers. This is especially true in complex categories like technology, where innovative leaders must inform audiences about the new product category before investing in persuasive selective demand stimulation.


The more obvious use of primary demand stimulation is when industries collaborate, such as with the "Got Milk?" campaign and the "Pork: The Other White Meat" campaign. Dairy makers realized that milk consumption was on the decline, and they needed to pool resources and convince people to drink more milk for overall health benefits for each company to succeed. This approach is common in struggling industries.


According to the 6th edition of the textbook "Advertising and Integrated Brand Promotion," primary demand has generally been proven less successful over time than selective demand. This is because it lacks the same persuasive aspect of a company selling its benefits to customers who have a need. These risks are heightened in mature industries, with milk and orange juice cited as specific examples of categories where primary demand efforts have had little to no positive effects.