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Advertising Part 2 - Creativity

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Creativity is an essential element in advertising. Good advertising uses creativity to attract attention and motivate further action. Advertising that lacks creativity cannot move people. Advertising that overdoses on creativity often entertains but may fail to convey the message. A creative balance is needed to make adverts work.

Ten Things You Should Do

  1. Think about real people. Demographics are fine, but these give you a stereotype. Try to find real people who fit your target audience profile and understand their needs and motivations. Empathising in this way can be a springboard for creative advertising.
  2. Avoid skimpy briefs. Creative people need the full picture about who you want to address in your adverts, what you want to say, how you want the audience to respond and where this fits within the overall marketing framework. Include examples of previous advertising campaigns, competitor material, details of your proposed media and any research you have.
  3. Give creative freedom. Allow the creatives to create three possible advertising approaches and test them. Using a focus group or more informal polling check how typical target customers respond to the message.
  4. Be different. We live in an age of communication overload. Audiences are exposed to many competing messages and can give each only a fraction of their time. To rise above this clamour, effective advertising must find a way to distinguish itself from all the background noise.
  5. Less is more. In most cases simplicity pays. Many first time advertisers try to fill expensively purchased space with as much information and as many images as possible. This is too much. Keep the message simple and let your helpline, web site, literature or sales people take the sales process forward.
  6. Be passionate. Enthusiasm is infectious. If your advertising does not convey your passion for your product then it will not convince the customer.
  7. Communicate with colour. We have a huge palette of communication tools. Advertising copy and imagery need to be carefully crafted, selected and presented to tap into the reader’s experience and emotional channels.
  8. Have a call to action and a means to take things forward. Information line numbers and web site addresses in tiny type are a total waste – make them big, bold, simple and easy to remember.
  9. If inspiration fails don’t force it. Do something else, take a break, go for a walk with your creative person. It is surprising how putting an idea on the back burner and having a change of scene can stimulate the creative subconcious.
  10. Let it rest. If you have the luxury of time, always review your advertising ideas the day after. Incredibly, the perfect precision prose that you and your creative thought was perfect the day before, may reveal some unwanted hidden meaning you didn’t intend.

Five Things You Should Not Do

  1. Don’t be too clever. The message should be easily understood by the majority of the audience.
  2. Don’t infringe ASA codes. Legal, decent honest and truthful are the basic requirements, but check the code for more detailed guidelines.
  3. Don’t tease. Teaser campaigns can work – sometimes! Often, however, they confuse the message and can irritate some consumers.
  4. Don’t knock. Tempting though this may be, there are legal nightmares and mentioning a competitor in a negative way does not win points for you.
  5. Don’t be obscure. Make it clear what you are selling. Yes, we all sell solutions to problems, but when you cut your finger you need a plaster – not a flexible hygienic barrier clinical solution.


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