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Be Imaginative

What’s the easiest way to end a great ad campaign before it starts? Taking it too seriously is not rocket science. You don’t need a science degree to make or understand advertising.

Under no circumstances should you take down an ad because it’s not literal enough. Conversely, if you find your ads are too literal, you should destroy them all and start over.

Does Volkswagen have defective scrap? No, but the ad titled “Lemons” got your attention, didn’t it? It makes you want to read the story, which further explains how the particular car in the ad will never be driven because VW cares so much that they clear the lemon so you never get a bad car. Think about how many opportunities would be missed if the folks at Volkswagen took the title too literally.

from this angle. Why do people read ads or watch them? Most people do this because they find them interesting and informative. If your ad is informational rather than entertaining, you’re wasting your budget.

This is not to say that ads should only be created for entertainment purposes. Again, a great ad is fun and informative. Entertainment value should come from the characteristics of your product or brand. In other words, you should be selling the star of the show. It sounds easy, but finding the right balance is often difficult. That’s the fun of advertising.

How much information does your audience really need? What kind of stories would they find interesting? These questions should be asked and answered as early as possible so that when you finally see an ad or event, you can judge the work against these predetermined guidelines.

A good campaign reaches your target group and talks to them on a personal level. This has important implications for your sales and reputation. A great ad campaign will do so much more. It will create a buzz outside of your target audience.

Apple’s “1984” ad only played once. But it’s still one of the most-watched ads because it’s been featured repeatedly on every major news show and has been featured in every major newspaper for weeks and months. And none of this will exceed the cost of Apple buying a TV.

Notably, Apple’s Super Bowl ad helped the company become a household name and created incredible demand for the new Macintosh Computers — but the ad never showed the product or explained any details about it.

BMW’s Mini Cooper was one of the first cars to launch in the US without TV commercials. Blasphemy! Instead, they screwed Minis onto the roof of an SUV and drove them through big cities. They produce witty billboards, interactive print ads, and great guerrilla promotions. On top of that, they created a list of customers waiting to buy the Mini.

Think bigger companies get bigger. It’s a self-fulfilling cycle. If you only think about your local business, you may be missing out on opportunities to expand regionally, nationally or even internationally. Your ad campaigns should reflect your company’s direction — even if you don’t already.

Challenge yourself and your agency to think bigger. •

This article covers the third of the twelve steps. Challenge yourself, your employees and your advertising agency to revolutionize your advertising program. If you missed the previous step, please contact the author for a free copy. Remember, every revolution begins with a step.

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