What Makes a Successful Ad?

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The TV show Mad Men presented a world from 60 years ago that was unrecognizable in its styles, technology, and social mores. Yet, the advertising principals employed by Sterling Cooper’s marketing team are very familiar. While life changes quickly, the parts of our brain that control emotional responses are slow to evolve. The elements of a winning ad in 1960 are not that different than they are today.

Something else that hasn’t changed is how many ads we see in a day. There are estimates that we’re exposed to 5,000 ads each day, but that includes every glimpse of a brand or logo, most of which our brains ignore. The average number of actual advertisements we see in a day is 362; not that much higher than the 340 daily ads people saw in 1945. Of those, our brains only make a note of about 153 ads, disregarding the remaining 209.

Even though a majority of ads are online, the principals are the same as they’ve always been. Here are three elements that will make an ad successful and memorable in any media.

Find Your Target Audience

Placing an ad for Larry’s Steak House in Vegetarian Times magazine would clearly be a waste of money. While ad placement may not always be that obviously mismatched, it is important to make certain the audience that sees your ad is an audience that would be interested in your product. It’s crucial to know your current customers to be able to target new, similar customers. If running a print ad, there are considerations on the actual physical placement of an ad. Run an online ad—on Facebook, for example—and it can be specifically targeted to individuals based on age, location, gender, or any of 98 other data points Facebook collects on its users. Still, the only way to make your brand appealing to new customers is to know why it’s appealing to current customers.

Create a Compelling Call to Action

The point of any ad is to get someone interested in your product or brand. The call to action (CTA) has been an advertising staple for decades in print, and was usually accompanied by a sense of urgency like, Call Now! or Come In Today! With the proliferation of online ads, the CTA attempts to directly engage a customer, getting them to participate or interact and provide information such as an email address or phone number. To be successful, a CTA must offer something of value to the customer. Companies need to find something a potential customer would want or need. Clearly state the benefits of what you’re offering, accompanied by a very obvious button to be clicked.

Build an Indelible Identity

Brand identity is more important than any other element in advertising. It’s the image that pops into people’s minds upon hearing a company’s name or seeing a company’s logo. Whether it’s the golden arches, the Apple logo, the Snapchat ghost, or names like Coke or Amazon, we have a perception of the company and the product, for better or worse. Find your company’s identity and make certain every ad is consistently reflective of what you want your company to be. It doesn’t take long to create a great brand image. Snapchat has only been around for six years and they have 150 million devoted daily users.

The advertising experts at McFadden/Gavender, a full-service agency, can target your company’s audience, get them involved, and create a strong brand identity. Call us and let us help you achieve your vision.