Creating a brilliant ad campaign doesn’t happen overnight—even though some seem to instantly become part of our cultural psyche. Nike’s “Just Do It” and Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” campaigns are perfect examples. Although both brands gained renown attention and popularity, these campaigns required a great deal of analysis and creativity. They assessed gaps in the marketplace and tapped into audience needs.
And although advertising strategies may vary, they all share the same fundamental principles. Here are some helpful tips to create a powerful ad campaign:
Make it Memorable
Too often, people mistakenly dismiss advertising as a bottom-line endeavor devoid of any higher purpose. But as renown media expert Marshall McLuhan once said, “Historians and archaeologists will one day discover that the ads of our time are the richest and most faithful daily reflections any society ever made of its whole range of activities.”
McLuhan rightly understood that advertising is a window into how people live and what they desire. Great campaigns grasp that audiences seek more than a smooth pitch or a good product price. They want to be inspired and be part of something larger than themselves. This will make what you are selling more attractive and help you stand out from your competitors.
Seize the Right Opportunity
Sometimes great ideas or products fail because they are simply ahead of their time. Microsoft came out with Tablet computers a decade before Apple introduced the iPad, but consumers did not respond as enthusiastically. Why?
Microsoft CEO Bill Gates explained during an interview in 2012 that Apple’s iPad was better engineered, more attractive, thinner and better packaged. He also explained that Apple CEO Steve Jobs chose a more opportune time to introduce the product to consumers.
If you want to reach critical mass, good timing is equally as important as what you are selling. Excellent ad campaigns recognize the impact of larger trends and societal shifts, and seize the right opportunity to respond.
Craft a Meaningful Message
Think about some of the greatest ad campaigns of all time: Nike’s “Just Do It” or Volkswagen’s ‘”Think Small” for example. Although these campaigns were developed decades apart, they share some common DNA—in particular, their ability to convey a deeply resonant message.
“Just Do It” is an affirmative call to action, asking the audience to become active, fight through the fatigue and accomplish goals—all the while wearing Nike gear, of course.
“Think Small,” on the other hand, asks the audience to reevaluate their core purchasing preferences: Why follow the crowd and opt for a large car? Choose the smaller vehicle and make a statement about yourself. Ultimately, both campaigns are legendary for their creativity, simplicity and powerful messaging. These are all attributes of great ads.
The Fundamental Steps
Crafting a meaningful message won’t get you the results you desire if you don’t properly execute your vision. Here is a quick list of things to consider when developing a campaign to ensure positive receptivity:
- Develop a clear message that resonates with audiences
- Concisely define how your product or service is superior to your competitors
- Determine which medium best reaches your target audience (digital, print, etc.)
- Create a sense of urgency and call to action
A Winning Formula
Once you have mastered the key elements of what makes great advertising stand out, you will be ready to create a truly memorable ad campaign. By following these advertising strategies, you will be able to develop a meaningful message that resonates with your audience and motivates them to participate in your vision.