What Makes a Good Ad?

You can’t capture your audience through shouting.

Yet, in many markets, that’s exactly what companies are doing. Faced with low barriers to entry, firms are fending off competitors through cluttered ads and bigger media. They make the fonts larger, colors louder, and fill entire pages boasting about their new product. But a good ad isn’t about font size and product features. Capturing attention demands an intelligent approach.

Instead of size, color, or quantity, the best ads rely on three core pillars: understanding, boldness, and clarity. Here’s how to stand out in the chaos of modern media.

1) Be Understanding So You Can Be Relevant 

“Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.” – David Ogilvy

Data is everywhere, but putting it to good use is rare. Consumers leave crucial insights all over the web. They share income levels, shopping habits, social preferences, product reviews, and more. Analytics abound for the savvy marketer, but the amount of data can be overwhelming.

Start small and set incremental goals for how your business plans to couple consumer research with ad strategy. Begin with your consumer, not your product or service. Schedule meetings to talk about your audience instead of your next-generation features or first-in-class service. If you understand your customer, you can create with confidence.

2) Be Bold So You Can Be Remembered

Bold isn’t a color or logo—it’s not just a visual statement. Bold ads have the right amount of irreverence to make a difference in the marketplace.

Flip through the magazine closest to you or hop onto your favorite news outlet. Scan the ads for a few minutes and you’ll find that playing it safe is the standard. You’ll see cliché images and trite headlines. You’ll find tongue-in-cheek work that may evoke a few chuckles but won’t be remembered after lunch.

At Real Art, we say, “Be daring and screw convention.” This is a strategic statement not just a philosophical middle-finger. The average produces the mediocre. Blandness is boring.

When developing a new ad campaign, remember that people engage with what they find interesting. Push the boundaries of what’s expected and surprise your audience. It’s the only way you’ll be remembered.

3) Be Clear Before You’re Clever

Boldness without clarity is simply entertainment. Making your audience feel good or chuckle isn’t your main objective. Before you brainstorm concepts that are humorous or clever, develop clear messaging.

Your value needs to be concise to be effective. It can’t be wrapped in jargon or presented in tedious paragraphs. Ads often have seconds before they’re closed, ignored, or forgotten. You can’t say everything in an ad—it’s not your website.

When you embrace that your ad is only part of your marketing strategy, you are free to speak clearly. You don’t have to worry about missing a detail or stat. Knowing that your ad is not a comprehensive source of information, will allow you to be more strategic, helpful, and clear

As media continues to invade every aspect of our lives, consumers will ignore the average, forget the boring, and reject the confusing. If you’re looking to connect with your consumer, you’ll have to do the same. Pursue the bold, seek to understand, and champion clarity above sophistication.

Your concepts will be stronger and your ad dollars will go further.

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