Nov 28, 2017

How to be sure your ad campaign won't flop

While ad campaigns will have specific goals, on a base level all successful ad campaigns are memorable. However, in the strive to create a memorable ad, many forget to ensure that not just the message, but everything from the way the ad looks to the explicit emotions the ad creates have to be in tune with the brand. Only then will the memory of an ad serve any purpose in building your companies image. There are 2 simple thought experiments you can do to make sure your campaign idea is on track.

1. Take away the product and logo from the narrative of your ad. Does it illicit the correct emotions that fit with your product or message?

If the answer is no, then you may have to do some rethinking. Let’s look at some examples to illustrate:

With the brand blocked out this ad still screams luxury, high fashion, sexy people and effortless beauty. The image gives you feelings that life is for the good things, to splurge on items that make you happy. The emotions this brings forth are that of lust, love and euphoria. All characteristics that a designer brand, in this case Gucci, would want to associate with.

This ad for insurance has created the right visual tone, it looks professional, family forward and clinical. A scene with a young pregnant couple would indeed be very worrying towards newlyweds, however with a joke in the copy and image the only emotion that will be created is humor. This is not what you would associate with something serious, caring and family orientated like insurance. The resulting disconnect causes the reader to remember your ad as a single entity, not associate it with your product or brand.

When the narrative is in line with your brand or product, they reinforce each other to create a lasting impression in your readers.

2. Take your ad and compare it to your Brand or Product. Do they resonate with each other?

Having your ad campaign be in line with your brand is important as it will cause viewers to recall past ad campaigns or aspects of your brand identity, conveying a more concrete message to your audience.

The narrative of this ad is childish, carefree, happy and playful. However, it is meant to be promoting Audi cars, something that is drastically not childish or playful. An Audi advert should be bold, strong and aggressive just like their cars. The ad by itself may be clever, but it does not fall in line with the Audi brand. This confuses the readers and again creates a disconnect in the mind between the ad and the product or brand.

Look back up to the Gucci advert, the entire image and layout is in line with the brand, creating a cohesive message to the viewer. It is so seamless that almost any picture that vaguely looks similar will remind you of Gucci. That is the power of branding, after many iterations you can turn things that aren’t even adverts of your product into reminders of your brand.

There is a possibility that your advert is so unique and creates such a strong response that it becomes memorable anyway, like Mercedes Benz’s chicken head advert for example, or the Melbourne train safety advert, dumb ways to die (pictured at top). However, with narratives so far removed from their company identities, you have to wonder does associating luxury cars with chickens or passenger safety with morbid cartoons really have a meaningful impact on viewers? I for one would rather not buy a chicken car.

Besides absolute flukes of virality, it is still best to follow these 2 simple checks to ensure you are always building a clear and concise mental picture of your brand, message and product in your target audiences.

For more musings on marketing and writing, check out our blog here.