Creating great ads is difficult and that is why we see so few of them. Every renowned advertising person – from David Ogilvy to Kevin Roberts to Piyush Pandey – has had his own take on how to create great advertising. While such advice can be extremely useful there is, unfortunately, no sure shot formula for creating work that do full justice to a brand and – simultaneously – takes the world by storm. I don’t know how many of you would eventually go on to become copywriters or art directors but understanding how good advertising can be created is important knowledge for everyone who is connected with advertising and marketing.
Here are some pointers from Luke Sullivan on how to start the process of creating great ads:
1. Remember, there are two problems to solve: the client’s and yours. The client is essentially looking for creatives that are bang on with the strategy; a good advertising person should look at being on strategy AND creating something extraordinary.
2. Pose the problem as a question. Creativity is all about problem solving and posing questions in interesting ways can throw up good ideas or directions.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask dumb questions. Most marketers are so close to their products and brands that they, many a times, miss the obvious. Feel free to ask any question, however dumb it may appear.
4. Ask yourself what would make YOU buy the product. Selling to yourself may throw up some good ideas.
5. Find the CENTRAL truth about your product. Find the central truth about the whole product category. The HUMAN truth. For example, hair colouring is not about looking younger – it’s about self esteem. Cameras aren’t about pictures – they are about memories.
6. Try the competitor’s product. Try and find out what are the strengths of the competitor’s product. What are the WEAKNESSES of the strengths. When Doyle Dane & Bernbach was creating the advertising for Avis (the no.2 brand to Hertz), they came with an ad based on the weakness of Hertz’s no.1 position – ‘The line at our counter is shorter.’
7. Dramatise the benefit. People don’t buy products or their features – they buy the BENEFITS of the features.
8. Avoid style: focus on substance. Forget the sizzle, think of the steak.
9. Make a claim in your ad that is incontestable. A fact or argument that cannot be refuted.
Again, a very good set of rules but they still won’t guarantee that the ad that you or your agency will create would be a once in a lifetime ad. But keeping a set of simple rules will at least get you going in the right direction.
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