What Makes an Ad Effective?

Whenever I hear a statistic in the news/media I’m immediately skeptical. If 8% of all statistics weren’t made up I wouldn’t be so cynical. But they are, so now I have trust issues. Kraft recently launched a campaign asking people to clear their pallet and try their sandwich supplement Miracle Whip with an open, unbiased mind. Their ads are interesting to say the least. For example, a ramshackle assortment of b-list celebrities – Scottish singer Susan Boyle, country legend Wynonna Judd, former ‘N Sync vocalist Lance Bass, ’80’s pop star Tiffany, former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke and members of the Village People all come together in a Youtube video to sing a fake charity anthem to support their “cause”. Hellmann’s also employed radio spots using the same celebrities, in the same faux pas philanthropy vein.

Kraft hasn’t revealed any numbers that speak to the effectiveness of the “Keep An Open Mouth” campaign. Regardless, numbers mean zero to me so I’ve been forced to come up with a more qualitative way of determining an ad’s effectiveness.

1.       Does it get my attention?

Literally look to your left right now. Now to your right. Where ever you are, odds are you’ve just seen at least one advertisement, if not several. Ads are all around us and they’re so common place they’ve started to blend into the background of our every day. It’s simple, but when an ad manages to get my attention that’s the number one sign of a good advertisement. If I don’t notice it, I can’t buy it.

2.       Are people talking about it?

It’s almost impossible to stay out of the loop these days. Between inboxes and news feeds, what’s relevant is force fed to us (Angry Cat, Harlem Shake, Justin Timberlake? I rest my case.) When something goes viral and people are compelled (seemingly obligated) to talk about it, that’s another great sign of a great advertisement. The ability of every end user to voice their opinion online has given metrics to advertisers that even they cannot skew – Youtube views, Facebook likes/shares, 5 star Amazon reviews. These are numbers I believe 100% because they come from people like me and you, not the media.

3.       Will I try their product?  

Regardless of how popular an ad is the end goal is usually the same – buy what we’re selling. If the ad doesn’t make you want to do something, odds are it isn’t very effective. However, every time a television commercial or radio ad makes me laugh (or cry) I don’t run out and buy Huggies latest no leak diaper or Hoover’s ‘mega suck 3000’. BUT if an ad is able to make me consider trying their product when in the past I wouldn’t, I think that’s the sign of a job well done on the advertiser’s part. If an ad can take me out of my comfort zone with ‘brand-x’ and make me consider experimenting with ‘brand-y’, that’s a win for ‘brand-y’.

If you’re considering creating an advertisement to reach new customers keep in mind the three points above. Get their attention, make it interesting enough where they’ll want to share it with their friends and make it compelling enough to make them want to try your product. That’s all for now. I have to go make a sandwich.

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