In the world of advertising, the creative is the single most important factor that determines how effective your campaign will be. It’s what captures consumers’ attention, builds brand awareness, and ultimately drives sales.
But what exactly makes advertising creative effective?
To answer this question, we turn to industry experts Orlando Wood from the IPA and Peter Field and Les Binet.
Emotion: The Key to Creating a Lasting Connection with Consumers
According to Orlando Wood, emotions are a critical component of effective advertising creative. In today’s world, where consumers are bombarded with advertisements at every turn, brands need to appeal to consumers’ emotions to create a lasting connection. Specifically, Wood argues that positive emotions such as warmth, nostalgia, and empathy can help create brand affinity and generate positive associations with the brand.
“Emotion is at the heart of all great advertising. It’s what connects us to a brand and creates a lasting impression. But it’s not just about making people feel good – it’s about creating an emotional connection that drives action.”
Susan Credle, Global Chief Creative Officer at FCB
For example, the John Lewis Christmas ads have become a cultural phenomenon in the UK, with each year’s ad eagerly anticipated by consumers. These ads typically feature a heartwarming story that evokes positive emotions such as joy and nostalgia and are highly effective in creating a strong emotional connection with the brand.
Balancing Long-Term Brand Building with Short-Term Sales Activation
Peter Field and Les Binet’s work emphasises the importance of balancing long-term brand building with short-term sales activation. Brands that focus solely on short-term sales activation may see a boost in sales initially, but this approach does not create sustainable growth or long-term success. Instead, brands need to invest in long-term brand building to create a strong brand image and message that resonates with consumers.
One example of a brand that has successfully balanced long-term brand building with short-term sales activation is Nike. Their ‘Just Do It’ campaign has been running for over 30 years and has been incredibly successful in creating a strong brand identity and message. However, Nike also invests in short-term sales activation through campaigns such as their annual Black Friday sales, demonstrating the importance of balancing long-term and short-term goals.
Appealing to the ‘System 1’ Part of the Brain
In addition to emotions and balancing long-term brand building with short-term sales activation, Peter Field and Les Binet’s work also highlights the importance of appealing to the ‘System 1’ part of the brain. This part of the brain is responsible for automatic, instinctive, and emotional responses, and is critical in driving purchasing decisions.
Brands can appeal to the ‘System 1’ part of the brain by using visual and emotional cues that are easy to process and understand. An example of an ad that appeals to the ‘System 1’ part of the brain is the Cadbury Gorilla campaign. The ad features a gorilla playing the drums along to the Phil Collins song ‘In the Air Tonight’, creating a strong emotional connection with the viewer. The ad was incredibly successful, with sales increasing by 9% in the months following the campaign.
Storytelling and Authenticity: Creating a Strong Brand Identity and Message
Another key aspect of effective advertising creative is storytelling and authenticity. Brands that tell compelling stories and are authentic in their messaging are more likely to create a lasting connection with consumers.
For example, Patagonia has built its brand around a commitment to environmental sustainability, and its advertising reflects this ethos. Their ‘Don’t Buy This Jacket’ campaign encouraged consumers to consider the environmental impact of their purchases and demonstrated Patagonia’s commitment to sustainability. This campaign was incredibly successful in creating a strong brand identity and message that resonated with consumers.
Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign tells a compelling story and is authentic in its messaging, which has resonated with consumers.
Visual and Sensory Cues: Creating a Unique Brand Experience
Finally, visual and sensory cues can be powerful tools for creating a unique brand experience. Visual cues such as colour, font, and imagery can all play a role in creating a strong brand identity and message.
Similarly, sensory cues such as sound and smell can be used to create emotional connections with consumers and help them remember the brand.
“Visual and sensory cues are critical in creating a unique brand experience. By using colour, font, imagery, and sound, brands can create advertising that is distinctive and memorable. This helps them stand out in a crowded marketplace and build a strong brand identity.”
David Lubars, Chief Creative Officer at BBDO
Coca-Cola’s iconic red and white colour scheme and the ‘Taste the Feeling’ slogan are examples of visual and sensory cues that help create a strong brand identity.
in the same way, McDonald’s uses its iconic yellow and red colour scheme and the ‘golden arches’ logo to create a strong brand identity that is instantly recognisable. Personal care brand Lush uses sensory cues such as the scent of their products to create a unique and memorable brand experience.
The Benefits of Effective Advertising Creative
Effective advertising creative can bring many benefits to brands. By creating emotional connections with consumers, brands can build brand affinity and generate positive associations with the brand. This, in turn, can lead to increased sales, customer loyalty, and long-term success.
Effective advertising creative can also help reduce ad costs by creating campaigns that are more effective and generate better outcomes. By creating advertising that appeals to a wider range of consumers and creates a deeper connection with the brand, brands can also reach broader audiences.
In addition, effective advertising creative can create brand awareness by building a strong brand identity and message that resonates with consumers and generates positive associations with the brand. This can help brands stand out in a crowded marketplace and establish themselves as a leader in their industry.
In conclusion, effective advertising creative is a critical component of any successful advertising campaign. By using emotions, balancing long-term brand building with short-term sales activation, appealing to the ‘System 1’ part of the brain, telling compelling stories, being authentic in messaging, and using visual and sensory cues, brands can create campaigns that are more effective, generate better outcomes, and create a lasting connection with consumers.