Advertising 101: Part 3

[11-30-06 This entry has been amended to include links to the full size jpegs of the ads in question]

Follows is part 3 of the series Andrea is writing on advertising for DEs. If you need to catch up, you can read part one and part two first. Thanks Andrea!

Building a Successful Ad Campaign

Sorry about the delay in finishing the series, I have been in the process of quitting my day job and setting up my marketing company; which is going swimmingly. In this post I will address the elements of a successful ad campaign. Now, this has less to do with placement, which I went over in my previous post, and more to do with the nuts and bolts of composing a successful ad and its content. A good friend has offered to let me use her ads as examples for you, so thank you Jennifer from Hempsown.

Visual Impact:
The first thing to remember when you are trying to get your message across to a potential customer is to remember that people need, not only to see, but to have the image you create convey an emotion. People buy things because they feel one way or another about something, not just because they have the correct information. So when you compose your ad (or have your graphic designer create it), you need to determine what you are selling and how you intend to influence someone to buy that product. A good way to check your theories about your company is to start paying attention to ads you see in major magazines. Hint: Start a check list of what you notice in the first 5-10 seconds of looking at an ad, then try and explain to yourself why you think those things. You can give this information to your graphic artist as a visual reference point, remember to clip the ads you like and explain why you like them.

Cultivating Your Image/ Branding:
Obviously, all elements of advertising work in conjunction with each other; from budget and placement to types of media and impactfulness. Your image is cultivated with your website, print ads, radio ads, online ads, postcards, etc. Most people refer to this as branding, but in this particular instance we are only dealing with one aspect of that. Remember that part of branding is also consistency; when you are making your ads, the imagery/attitude should all mesh. You should also arrange your ads thematically…similar but not the same. It ties your messages together so that over the course of time people get a more complete picture of you/your business. The Verizon TV commercials are a great example of cultivating one’s image. They went from the “can you hear me now” theme…to the “extended network theme”…to the “can your network do this?” theme. So now when you see the current installation of their commercial, you already know that their product can do X, Y, and Z, so therefore the new message has much more impact because they spent 6 months educating you to their brand.

Your Message:
When you are ready to advertise you need to answer the 5 key questions in your ad: who, what, where, when and why. Further, you also need to determine the purpose of your advertising which will dictate what your content will be. For example: If ZYX Clothing is doing a trunk show at Froo Froo Boutique, then the advertising would be short (1-3 days before the event), directed and contain a call to action (a statement in the ad requiring someone to do something, i.e.: Come on down to Sal’s for our tasty Fish and Chips only 2.99 this Friday from 10-2p.m.) You aren’t really concerned with building impressions because your purpose is not to build your brand in that market, it is to get people to show up for an event.

Now, I want to address something that usually happens with high-end anything. Many people think that because they have a following or have been in business for awhile, or have a product so unique and wonderful that people will just know what they are trying to convey without actually saying it. That’s wrong. Flat out, undeniably and ostensibly wrong. A person is smart, but people generally are not. Think of how many ads you see a day. Your ad has to stop that reader/listener and capture 1-5 seconds of their attention…that’s all you get to make an impression. It better be clear and well planned both in concept and execution. Also, some people mistake minimalism for sophistication. Don’t do that, it doesn’t work; and let me tell you that the last Christian Dior ad I saw was only identifiable as Christian Dior because it said it in tiny print at the bottom of the page. Yes, even great houses make advertising mistakes.

So to sum up, every detail is important. You are dealing with social psychology at its finest. Just because we are fashion people, doesn’t mean that we are in any way beyond the tiniest details of advertising…in fact, I think that is what will make us very good at it. After all, if you can execute a new product into the marketplace, you can clearly reason out the advertising process, and I hope that I have given you some tools to help in that process.

I will leave you with this assignment:
Look at the following ads and make notes about what you notice. How do they make you feel? Do you think they are conveying a clear message? Do they entice you to find out more about the company? Why/Why not?

[To view full size jpegs, select #1 (108kb) #2 (77kb) #3 (82kb) #4 (94kb)]

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18 Comments on "Advertising 101: Part 3"

8 years 7 months ago


These ads were kind of mish moshed…some of them went in succession and the Hip-is-hot guy ran for 3 weeks to introduce menswear. The next leg of Jen’s campaign is going to be geared toward holiday sales and getting prepared for her custom bridal season which I am happy to announce is shaping up wonderfully. Thanks again for the feedback.

8 years 7 months ago

I’ve been thinking again, scary, I know.

I guess we could start a discussion on the forum where we could submit our website, hang tags, etc. for critique. I’m sure Andrea did learn a lot from this. The comments were all specific and professional. I thought maybe more of us could get critqued?

Big Irv
8 years 7 months ago


I think you did a great job on all the ads. Now that you divulged where you ran them it makes a bit more sense.
My thoughts were that all 4 ads were very presentable, although the ads with the photography
had more of an impact for me.

All of your ads in my opinion conjured up curiosity as to what an eco-boutique is. Is that not an important function of any advertising campaign ?

I suppose success is measured by sales results. An increase in business of 2/3rds is amazing, in a span of 5 weeks, no less.

What type of follow up campaign is planned to sustain these results ?

8 years 7 months ago

I think Mr. Hemp-Is-Hot would do well in the Austin market. No fear of western-fusion styles there.

The first ad appeals to me visually, but doesn’t tell me much. The second one does nothing for me. I actually like the third one because it acknowledges that hemp has traditionally been granola, but there are people actively trying to get away from that. I appreciate that. I like the last one for the same reason.

The last two highlight a difficulty that we deal with in our marketing/branding strategy. We use sustainable fibers and fair trade practices. However, we also produce very high quality products. We want people to buy our products because they’re the best designs and quality. And oh, by the way, you can feel good about the purchase on all of these other levels, too. If we’re too overt about the sustainability aspect, we’re going to limit ourselves to the granola niche. If people feel they’re paying a higher price for brand name/quality/design, that’s one thing. But if they feel they’re paying that price for sustainability only, we lose a big part of the market.

We have been modeling ourselves after Patagonia, in this respect. The very best products in their category – and oh, by the way . . .

8 years 7 months ago

Hi all,

It always help me to actually put my thoughts about an ad into words. Which is why my friends always turn off the tv when the commercials come on!

I like the simplicity and elegance of the first ad (creating a mood of who the customer would want to be) and I think it works well with the image in the last ad. The detail in the last ad make it a good conclusion to a series. The other two don’t seem to fit the series, the second ad being a bit cluttered and not monochromatic like the others. And the men’s one, I agree with Carissa that there seems to be too many themes.

I am however very glad that it worked so well for Jennifer! And thank you so much for this series. I find it much easier to break down the whole overwhelming marketing task now!

And I think this shows up