I always use my instincts as my first gut reaction of the advertising. When the agency shows me an ad, I don’t want any set up, don’t read the brief, don’t tell me “this is really funny”. Unless we are prepared to buy a 30 second spot to explain our ad and put it right in front of our Ad, then we must watch the work as though we are the consumer. But even after 20 years and hundreds of spots, I don’t rely on just my instincts. I do the thinking time. And the tool I usually turn to is the ABC’S. I want to make sure we create an ad that attracts Attention, it’s about the Brand, it Communicates the brand story and Sticks in the consumers mind.
- Attention: You have to get noticed in a crowded world of advertising. Consumers see 6000 ads per day, and will likely only engage in a few. If your brand doesn’t draw attention naturally, then you’ll have to force it into the limelight.
- Branding: Ads that tell the story of the relationship between the consumer and the brand will link best. Even more powerful are ads that are from the consumers view of the brand. It’s not how much branding there is, but how close the brand fits to the climax of the ad.
- Communication: Tapping into the truths of the consumer and the brand, helps you to tell the brand’s life story. Keep your story easy to understand. Communication is not just about what you say, but how you say it—because that says just as much.
- Stickiness: Sticky ads help to build a consistent brand/consumer experience over time. In the end, brands are really about “consistency” of the promise you want to own. Brands have exist in the minds of the consumer.
How to Drive more Attention
Buying media and putting something on air does not attract attention for your ad. All those testing or tracking results start with Attention for a reason, your Brand Link scores are a ratio of those that the ad captured. Driving more branding of a poorly engaging ad doesn’t really do much.
You have to EARN the consumers’ attention. Most of the media options still, are passive mediums where the consumer is more engaged in the content, and the advertising needs to be interruptive. No consumer has ever said “what are you doing tonight Bill?”. “Well Bob, I’m going home, grab a bite to eat and watch some TV ads”. The best way to grab Attention is to take a risk and do something not done before. Here are the best ways to attract attention.
- Be Incongruent: This is a great technique to get noticed is by being a bit off kilter or different from what they are watching. A lot of brand leaders are afraid of this, because they feel it exposes them. Avoid being like “wallpaper” If you want a high score on “made the brand seem different”, it starts with acting different.
- Resonate: Connect with the consumer in the true way that they see themselves or their truth about how they interact with the brand.
- Entertain them: Strike the consumers emotional cord, by making them laugh, make them cry, or make them tingle. From the consumers view—they interact with media to be entertained—so entertain them.
- The Evolution of the Art of Being Different: As much as Movies, TV music continues to evolve, so do ads. As much as your art has to express your strategy, it needs to reflect the trends of society to capture their attention. Albino fruit flies mate at twice the rate of normal fruit flies. Be an albino fruit fly!!!
- Location Based: Be where Your consumers are open and willing to listen. The Media choice really does impact attention. Make sure your creative makes the most of that media choice.
- Be Part of the Content: As much as consumers are engaged in the content, not the advertising, then having your brand front and center and part of the story can be a great vehicle for driving attention. Watching a movie and seeing them using a Mac makes the product seem cool, or driving a red Mini Cooper in the Italian Job made me want that car. Or creating content on line that engages like Toyota’s Swagger Wagon or the brilliant BMW Films site from 10 years ago.
- Be Sharable: We are seeing so many amazing story-telling ads getting passed around on social media vehicles. Most are designed for that very reason, many of them 2-3 minutes in length. These long videos are great for engaging the consumer emotionally.
This Dodge Ram “Farmer” ad is a great use of being incongruent. This extremely quiet spot, was aired during the Super Bowl, when all the other ads are loud, slapstick style ads. The use of photography only, the great voice of Paul Harvey with “so god made a Farmer” gives you shivers.
Budweiser’s Wazzup ad was so different that it jumped off the TV screen. The language was authentic, connecting with how guys tend to talk to each other, when no one else is around.
Lynx ads are so entertaining they become content you want to watch. This spot from the mid 90s with Jennifer Anniston is hilarious.
Toyota’s Swagger Wagon videos have been shared by millions, highly entertaining but extremely insight driven of how former “cool people” turn into parents and their motivations change.
To this day, there has still never been an on-line idea as powerful as BMW Films for creating on-line content. What BMW did was give famous directors $1 Million each to make short “films” that make the BMW car the center point of the spots. These are highly engaging, shareable videos. These were 10 years ago now, and I keep hoping someone beats these one day. Here’s Guy Ritchie’s version, with his good friend Clive Owen and wife Madonna.
You have to earn their Attention, before telling them the rest of your story.
Here’s an article that goes a little deeper on the ABC’S: How to Judge Advertising Copy: Approve the Good. Reject the Bad.
To see a training presentation on Get Better Advertising:
If you are in the mood to see stories on great advertising, here’s a few other stories:
- 5 Ads that Will Make You Burst Out Laughing
- 5 Ads that will give you goosebumps
- Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” Campaign is stealing the Olympics
- Confession: I killed two doctors in 2006
- 10 Best Super Bowl Ads of All Time
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