Advertising during crisis

With a challenging economy, many marketers are cutting budgets and don’t have the ability to tap into seasoned marketing talent. Addis Creson has put together a top ten list of tips that marketers should consider when creating an ad.

Great ads have one thing in common. They sell things. Things like products, services, ideas or lifestyles. If they don’t do this directly, they are memorable enough to influence a consumer at the time he or she makes a purchase.

Bad ads are brand poison. If you go public with a half-baked concept, a forgettable headline, or a me-too message, chances are the ad will have the opposite effect you intended. It will drive consumers away. Even worse, it will drive them to the competition.

Below are 10 principles to keep in mind when creating an ad. Read them before, during, and after you have created your ad. Make them your checklist. And remember, every ad represents not just a product or feature or price, but what your brand promises.

1. No one cares about your company.

You might be intimately familiar with your product or service. You might even love it. But your audience doesn’t. Your ad has to give them a reason to care. Consumers don’t think in terms of features and benefits. Those are marketing terms. Consumers want something that will make their lives easier or bring them success. How will your product or service do this? More importantly, how will your ad convince them it will?

2. Don’t let fear motivate you.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to second-guess your audience’s ability to understand. Think of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners’ “Got Milk?” campaign. The entire message is based on the absence of milk. Without picturing milk in a variety of scenarios, the agency created a world without milk. If somewhere along the line, the California Fluid Milk Processor Advisory Board (the client) had rejected the no-milk concept because it didn’t adequately promote the product or make milk “the hero,” the resulting campaign would have been very different. And probably far less memorable.

3. If it works on you, it will work on them.

You are a consumer. You read ads and buy things. If your ad doesn’t convince you, chances are it won’t convince your audience.

4. Talk about one thing.

Volkswagen once ran an ad whose headline read: “It makes your house look bigger.” The message was simple: VW Beetles are small. The headline didn’t mention the car’s gas mileage, price, or engineering. It didn’t even mention VW. It got people to think small is good.

5. Say it differently.

Take the one thing you want to communicate and come up with different ways to say it. In the VW example above, the headline didn’t say “VW Beetles are small.” Think of ways to state an ordinary message in an unusual way so that it gets attention.

6. Let your audience draw their own conclusions.

When Steven Spielberg first screened Jaws, the audience laughed at the shark. His solution? Remove the shark. In the end, you see the entire shark in only a few scenes. But the movie is still terrifying. The same principle applies to advertising. Don’t be afraid to let consumers draw their own conclusion about your company or product. The conclusions we make for ourselves are usually the most powerful.

7. Make design and copy work together.

The headline and image tell the story. Don’t let the visual design overpower the message. And don’t rely on copy alone to convey the entire idea. A headline should never tell you what is in the picture. And graphic design should never be used merely to fill space.

8. Create an emotion.

The worst thing an ad can do is be boring. A series of physiological events occurs when we’re happy, sad, entertained, or angered. Use this to your advantage. Make sure you generate a response in the person looking at your ad. Any response is better than no response.

9. Sell something, don’t just talk.

Imagine this: You’re looking for a new car. You have one in mind. You arrive at the dealership, see the perfect car on the lot, and go inside to inquire about it. Instead of answering your questions, the salesperson launches into a history of the car dealership. Do you care? In advertising, always stay focused on what you’re selling and anticipate the consumer’s needs.

10. Make them respond.

The best ads demand a response. They make consumers want to act. Always give your audience a reason to act and the means for doing so, whether that’s a phone number, fax number, or web address.

18 comments

Guest's picture
Guest

Great tips. Thanks.

Guest's picture
Guest

Excellent tips. thanks a lot

Guest's picture
Guest

Excellent tips. thanks a lot

Guest's picture
Guest

cool. i just think that advertising should always be like that, not just in times of crisis.

Gualcor's picture
Gualcor
972 pencils

INDEED

Guest's picture
Guest

Very well written and informative. It's great to look at things from another angle and be reminded of which way the direction of advertising should go.

Guest's picture
Guest

The story about Jaws is classic! And this is one of the greatest problems of Russian ad.
Spasibo, Adsoftheworld!

ooops's picture
ooops
448 pencils

timeless tips...thanks ivan.

Kapilmm's picture
Kapilmm
2 pencils

Very useful tips. the one on jaws is splendid
i agree advertising even otherwise is for the same thanx Ivan

shyaab's picture
shyaab
8 pencils

Excellent tip, thanx ads of the world

Guest's picture
Guest

Insightful, Thanks IVAN! PC

Guest's picture
Guest

"if it works for you it will work for them"-BIGGEST mistake any marketer can make!!! Never think you understand or know your market without research! That is the basis of any marketing campaign, product development or any thing!!!

I do not agree with all you tips! Especially in these times! My tip is-use your money wisely, thus--- know your target market and how you should communicate to them!!!

RELATIONSHIPS-that is what will save you in these times! Get an competitive advantages!

Sorry Ivan-don't agree!!!

Guest's picture
Guest

same for me, I dont agree with everything.
It's a strong basis but a bit far from reality in my opinion

Guest's picture
Guest

If im being honest, i'd call this article 'Timeless TIps for Advertising' and that should be the end of it... Crisis and advertising needs stats and a much specific picture which honestly no one can draw as of now...

Guest's picture
Guest

Ivan; as usual insightful and precise.
Solace for many a frightened marketing honcho
abhimanyu

Guest's picture
Guest

Lovely article. Like others said, its relevance is beyond moments of crisis.

Guest's picture
Guest

This is V useful to me all Ad Designers. Thks a Lot Put some more..

Guest's picture
Guest

Yes valuable tips indeed

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