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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