The Holy Grail of Advertising

June 6, 2012 | Filed Under Uncategorized 

This is how I judge what differentiates a good ad from a merely okay one.

1. It needs to be unique

2. It needs to tell a story

Originality is key. No one is interested in seeing someone else’s idea re-hashed. Here are some ways that an ad can be fresh in my mind.

1. It makes use of undiscovered mediums.

Ads on buses, trains, benches and beaches have been done. But a ten-foot vending machine? Now that’s interesting. Clever placement can catch an audience off-guard.

Two-for-one Cokes. But you'll need a boost from a friend.

Here’s a great example of using billboards and blotches to get a 3D effect.

For Ariel stain remover.

2. It bases its art direction on visual phenomenon you are familiar with, but have never seen in ad form before.

Ad for Playboy.

3. It employs an original sales concept. A new approach to a better benefit. For the ad to tell a story, it needs a unique concept.

You might forget you have pets. (Febreze)

3. It twists the copy with familiar but rarely used plays on phrase or ideas.

Let your husband date a younger woman. (Belesana antiage centre.)

The Importance of Storytelling.

If one image can capture your attention long enough to spell out a beginning, middle and end of a scenario, then it is successful. It is often said that advertising is a competition for attention – and time. The more elaboration spent on an idea – the more likely it is to be committed to long-term memory. This phenomenon is known as the Elaboration Likelihood Model or ELM. I wrote more about this psychological theory here: Advertising and the Elaboration Likelihood Model.

Children get headaches too. (Ad for children's aspirin.)

This is only one side of the Holy Grail: The perfect marriage between a strategy and a creative execution. It looks good on paper, or tacked up on cork boards in meetings.

The other side is the reality. Does it make the phones ring? Does it make any money? That is the true test of a great ad. It’s creatively perfect… and it works.

That’s what we’re trying to do here every day.

The work above is what we aspire to do. Also, we hope to find clients that appreciate this style as well. Or there’s no point. All these examples are from advertising agencies in Brazil and Argentina, by the way. Some of my favourite work  in the world.

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