Ads. When you read these 3 letters, your mind probably goes to that awful thing that interrupts your favorite tv show, or that obnoxious window that pops on your screen out of nowhere.

 That being said, advertising is viewed by many like a plague and people are giving their best to “fight back”: according to the New York Times, ad blockers have become a standard part of browsing online, having 198 million active users (and millions of more downloads—over 500 million, according to Adblock Plus) making a huge monetary impact with publishers losing up to $27 billion to ad blocking software in one year.

But do people hate all types of advertising? Not quite.

“I am one who believes that one of the greatest dangers of advertising is not that of misleading people, but that of boring them to death.”

 -Leo Burnett

People still love good advertising. The one that makes you glued to the screen, share with your friends and debate with your family. Therefore, in my opinion, is quite unfair to judge all ads equally, even though they are all trying to do the same thing. Using a (very) poor analogy, it would be a bit like comparing a fast food meal with a grande cuisine dish: they belong to the same category, however, they have completely different methods, ending in completely different results. Sticking with the analogy, your job is to impress the Gordon Ramsays of the ad world: your customers.

Like the British chef, they are increasingly demanding and will completely rip apart everything that is under their standards, but you still got to make a good impression.

So how can you do it?

First, there’s the obvious stuff: don’t suck at it.

There are some not-so-unspoken rules, backed by both social perception and data, that you should follow, rules like not using pop-ads (scoring a 74% disapproval rating among consumers according to The New York Times), not setting vídeos to autoplay, not using dumb copy (fifty-six percent of consumers say “most online ads these days are insulting to my intelligence”) or making ads that don’t look polished.

But after fixing these things, how can you appeal to the audience in this low attention span, ad-block driven world? Here are, in my opinion, 3 of the most important things to look out for:

A great headline.

The greatest advertising man in history, David Ogilvy, said “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” If this was true back then, it’s even truer now. Your headline should make people stop, read twice, think and share.

Memorable visuals.

Your brain filters everything and advertising is no different: as soon as you see something with a certain design layout, your subconscious brain knows: “Yup, this is an ad.” When this happens, half the fight is lost and the consumer will probably not pay that much more attention. However, when you see something your not expecting in a certain context, your brain will pay automatically more attention. A great example of this would be the iconic 1962 Volkswagen’s Beetle ad (completely refreshing at the time)

Entertain / Storytelling.

We live in a world where everybody expects to be entertained at all times, partially caused by the lighting-fast content delivered by social media. Even when they are not doing something fun (like having to wait 10 seconds to skip an ad), they want to see a story, to laugh, to relate. If you play your cards right, they might forget the skipping part altogether. A great example of this would be Nike’s videos for every World Cup, where a story is told while promoting the product in a non-pushy way.

If there’s something to take from this short article is this: always remember that every time your ad shows up you’re taking the consumer away from their favorite YouTuber, or the tv show they’ve been waiting to see for a long long time, or the game they are dying to play. If you’re not going for the “Wow” effect and you’re instead just trying to promote the product, don’t even bother.

João Parreira

Communications Team member


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