Primary Demand - Definition & Examples

Learn what primary demand means, how it’s different from selective demand, and how to increase it with a few examples!

What is Primary Demand?

Primary demand is the actual demand for a product category rather than for a certain brand.

Similarly, primary demand advertising (PDA) focuses on advertising a product category. So like most other ads, they don’t promote a brand's product but a product type itself.

primary demand

The goal of such an advertising campaign is to educate consumers about a product's different features and attributes. The scope of the campaign is more limited and focused - so now the messaging doesn’t directly promote the brand.

Such an advertising message contains the following elements:

  1. Benefits of using the product
  2. Features of the product
  3. Drawing attention to this product type or category

Since primary demand advertising focuses on product type - the brand doesn’t gain any competitive advantage.

Primary Demand vs Selective Demand

Selective and primary demand are two different approaches to advertising a product. The two demand types differ by their focus points.

Selective demand drives demand for a brand and not a general product type. Here advertisers try to persuade consumers to buy from a certain brand. This kind of advertising primarily promotes the brand.

But they still highlight the features and benefits of the product to gain a competitive advantage. Here the product features are highlighted so a brand can clearly distinguish its product from others.

Companies can use different strategies to gain selective demand. Some ways to do this is:

  • Benefit positioning - highlighting product features
  • Competitive positioning - highlighting benefits of a product compared to other brands
  • User positioning - matching product benefits with customer needs

Selective demand differs from primary demand in a number of different ways.

Companies or organizations can use primary demand in the following cases:

  1. When a company wants to introduce an innovative product to the market
  2. When industry members collaborate to arouse interest in a particular product category

To understand the distinction between product demand and selective demand, let’s take an example. Promoting the product “cotton” fabrics will come under primary demand. On the other hand, promoting cotton fabrics from a particular brand is selective demand. Here the whole ad essentially tells you why cotton fabrics from this brand are superior.

How to Increase Primary Demand?

Let’s learn different ways to increase the primary demand of a product type.

1. Traditional advertising

Traditional advertising mediums like TV commercials are one of the mediums you can use to implement primary demand advertising. There are more modern mediums to display your ads but TV commercials still provide great results even today. You are guaranteed to reach a huge audience using this medium.

2. Social media campaigns

Social media is again a good medium to run campaigns to increase primary demand. You can use different social media platforms that are most relevant to your product type. Through posts, videos, IGTV, paid ads, and other media you can set your campaign.

3. Email marketing

Another channel of promoting a product is through personalized email campaigns. Your email can generally highlight why your readers should be using a particular product.

Examples of Primary Demand

Let’s look at some examples of primary demand advertising campaigns.

1. Pork. The Other White Meat

“Pork. The Other White Meat” campaign was an advertising slogan created in 1987 by the National Pork Board to promote pork as white meat and an alternative to chicken or turkey. The campaign’s main aim was to encourage more consumption of pork.

2. Got Milk?

“Got Milk?” is another primary demand advertising campaign launched to encourage more consumption of milk. The advertisement highlights the benefits of consuming milk. This campaign was created when dairy producers realized that milk consumption was declining.


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