Successful Ad Campaigns and the Human Element

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Creating an effective advertising campaign involves far too many variables – a well-researched understanding of target demographics, a stellar creative team, great artwork and a strong financial investment. You’d think that with all the odds stacked against merchants and business owners, a successful advertising campaign would be improbable to find.

But they do exist. And we’ve all met them. Companies like Volkswagen, Nike, and even Maxwell House (“Good to the last drop…”) have run hugely successful advertising campaigns by offering what many of their competitors couldn’t – a connection with their audience.

After the pithy tag lines have been brainstormed, the layout has been glossed over and the art department’s packed up and gone home, the campaign needs to be strong enough to take on a life of its own. And if the human connection is missing, it’s not going to live for too long.

If you mull over the idea, it makes sense – after all, why would people want to stand in line to purchase a product that they couldn’t relate to? A human connection and a lifestyle choice are at the heart of a successful campaign. But first you’ve got to get their attention.

How? Our top three.

1. Stay honest Whatever your demographic may be, it’s vital to understand that in the social media age, consumers are far more informed and educated than they were as early as two decades ago. Trying to pull the wool over their eyes has nothing to do but backfire.
2. Fine tune the message Going over your ads with a fine-toothed comb means weeding out more than the typographical errors. Think about what the message conveys – is what you’re saying believable? Does it fulfill an actual or a perceived need? Does your message hold on to your audience’s attention or is it predictable and boring?
3. Repetition – Once you’ve found a message that works – i.e. elicits a response (hopefully favorable), generates buzz and leads to purchasing of the product – staying visible is the key.
A look at Ad Age’s Top 100 Advertising Campaigns is a good reminder of the fact that creating a memorable, long-lasting campaign is inextricably related to understanding behavior and delivering a message with widely accepted emotional appeal.
Leave us a note – what’s the most memorable ad campaign that you’ve come across?
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