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How to create high impact advertising

Over the past few articles (more than 50 in fact) we have discussed various ways of how to develop and create good advertising. If you haven't read them all then you should consider doing so now.
This is a list of how to create high-impact advertising and even if you've read previous issues before then you won't be wasting your time glancing through this one even though it's just a summary of what I've said previously.

1) Be absolutely sure that you thoroughly understand the medium you are going to use; don't write a good TV commercial, for example, and then use the sound track for a radio commercial – failures way outnumber successes in these cases. Get out there and watch how consumers consume media. Only when you really understand the medium can you hope to perfect the message.

2) Use only ONE major claim – and make it a strong one. Despite what others may say to the contrary, remember your target consumer can usually only understand and identify with one idea at a time.

©victor zastolskiy via 123RF

3) Stick to the principles of AIDA which still apply to this day (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). Grab attention, follow it up with facts (the more you tell, the more you sell) and, if appropriate use humour to oil the wheels of the ad. And never forget to ask for the order.

4) Don't let the creative idea dominate or smother the essential requirement of the ad – which is usually to sell.

5) Beware of irrelevance and irreverence. Consumers will quickly dismiss that which is unimportant to them – and will also become hostile towards something which offends them (either their morals, intelligence, beliefs – and just about anything else these days it seems).

6) Finally it is ABSOLUTELY VITAL that you completely understand to whom you are talking. I don't mean simply understanding a brief about demographics and psychographics. I mean real, tangible, knowing. Some good friends of mine, Peter Amis and John Farquhar (RIP) had an agency and were given the brief to handle one of SFW's three low-price wines – Virginia. They went to dozens and dozens of places where consumption of this product took place (which must have been a hardship). They talked to the people who were drinking it already. They completely 'got into' the mindset of the potential consumer. The result was a fabulous success.

7) Advertising is an intimate communications process – which means you have to share some intimacy with the consumer. If the product claims to relieve pain then you must feel that pain. If the ad is about being pregnant then you should get pregnant. (Okay, I know that's pushing it a bit but I'm sure you get the point).

About Chris Brewer

Having joined the ad industry in London, Chris Brewer spent most of his career in media analysis and planning - but has performed just about every advertising task from Creative to Research. He's an honorary lifetime member of the Advertising Media Association and regularly advises agencies and clients regarding their media plan costs and strategies. He is also often asked to talk at industry functions. Email: . Twitter: @brewersapps. Read his blog: