Advertisements are all around us. Whether we’re watching television, driving down the freeway, flipping through a magazine, or listening to the radio, we are bombarded on every side by messages trying to get us to buy a product or service. And although there have been countless debates over whether or not advertising is effective and whether it really does influence people to purchase products, the fact is many companies will spend billions of dollars on a single advertisement in the hopes that it will increase their profits.
Good advertisements have the power to make people stop and take notice. You have to have been living under a rock not to notice the success of Geico’s caveman series or the iPod’s silhouette series of commercials and advertisements. And as a result of those advertisements, sales went up significantly for those two companies.
Advertising creates awareness of the product and can convey messages, attitudes, and emotions to entice and intrigue audiences. At least those are the desired effects of an advertisement. Needless to say, some advertisements fail miserably in their purpose.
So, what makes the difference between a successful advertisement and an unsuccessful one? It’s all in the design. Typically, larger organizations produce more effective advertisements, while newer and smaller companies are the ones that produce the duds. This is largely because bigger organizations have the money to hire professionals while smaller companies do not.
The advantage of hiring an in-house advertising developer or hiring an advertising agency is that you get the skills of people who have been trained in creating effective advertisements. Many have spent years and years going to school, studying past effective advertisements, looking at elements of design, and learning how to create their own effective advertising campaigns.
Learning how to create effective advertisements does not happen overnight, but there are a few simple rules that many workers for professional advertising agencies follow to create effective advertisements that will appeal to audiences and hopefully increase the company’s revenue. The following paragraphs list a few advertising principles that companies and advertisers follow when creating their own advertising campaigns.
Perhaps the most important quality of an advertisement is its uniqueness. In a world where people often see hundreds of advertisements a day, an advertisement must be unique and different in order to capture audiences’ attention. Going back to the iPod example, the single block of color with an image of a black silhouette was extremely effective at the time because it was unlike anything else around it. The simplicity of the advertisement stood out against posters and billboards that had busier images and much more text. Also, the use of bright, bold colors made people stop and look at the image. Even though the advertisement had little text on it, people got the message that this product was new, fun, and bold.
Of course, there are a variety of ways to make your advertisement stand out. Look around your area and write down descriptions of advertisements you see. What are the trends? Are they text heavy? Do they use similar colors? What kinds of images are on the advertisements? Once you start noticing trends, try to think of ways your advertisement can go against those trends and be something different–something that will make people stop and look.
One word of caution: Once you’ve made people stop and look at your advertisement, they need to be able to understand what you’re selling. You may have the most eye-catching image on your advertisement, but if it is completely unrelated to your product or service, then viewers won’t understand what you want them to buy. So, be sure that when you are selecting your images and text for your advertisement, people will understand what you’re trying to sell.
A well-designed advertisement will also communicate well to audiences. In order to figure out how to make your advertisement effective, you need to identify your audience. Who are you trying to target? Teenagers? The Elderly? Business people? Parents? There are a variety of different audiences, and the more specifically you can identify the audience for your product, the better chance you have of designing an ad that will effectively influence your audience.
For instance, if your audience consists of young teenage girls, you might choose to use bright and bold colors, but for business people you may want to create an advertisement that uses more professional blues and blacks (but don’t be afraid to be a little bolder if you’re trying to stand out).
The key is to think of the general traits of your specific audience and try to reflect those traits in your advertisement. What do they value? What do they fear? What motivates them? Once you’ve answered those questions, it should be easier to come up with a few solid ideas for an advertising campaign.