Advertising 101 – How to Create Better Ads

April 29th, 2012
Washington Radio
by dctim1

Advertising 101 – How to Create Better Ads


“Advertising is a science, not an art”

Definition: The word advertising is from the root Latin advert: ad (to) vertere (turn), which means to call attention to. To advertise means: “to describe or praise publicly, usually to promote for sale.”

Advertising is a special form of communication intended to persuade consumers to respond in a positive way toward a product, service or idea. In Washington, DC, the home of many non-profit advocacy organizations it means to persuade or to change minds.

In other words the goal of advertising is to influence people:

-to buy something,

-to think well of something,

-to ask they take a particular action.

Contrary to popular opinion, advertising is a testable, provable, science, not an art. Effective advertising relies on a few simple strategic formulas. Done well however advertising can be done artfully. And should be.

It pays to advertise.

The basic purpose of advertising is to inform. Often, simply giving basic information about a product or service is sufficient. i.e., classified ads are simple information ads.

“Top of Mind awareness.”

Memory is the cornerstone of creative strategies in advertising. The basic assumption of this strategy is that the media environment is cluttered and memory is limited. Since memory is limited, it is important that our advertising give customers something worth remembering, otherwise they will simply forget you.

Frequency and repetition is crucial. Frequency and repetition is crucial. How many times do you have to tell a dog to sit in order for her to learn how?

Advertising exists along a continuum. Short-term traffic builders vs. long-term awareness builders.

1. Pricepoint ads are only sale advertising: Jerks.

2. Awareness and Image: Pulls.

How does Advertising really work? It creates:

1. AWARENESS, which creates:

2. INTEREST, which creates:

3. MOTIVATION, which creates:

4. DEMAND, which creates:



I. Advertising is part of a larger plan

The most successful companies have an advertising or marketing plan as part of their larger business plan. Advertising is only one method of communication in this plan. It must be linked to other communication strategies to be truly effective

II. Starting to advertise

A. Position your product. This means to understand how your product looks and feels compared to other similar products in the marketplace. Jeep is positioned as an upscale outdoorsy anyplace-anytime vehicle, compared to Volvo, which is positioned as a sensible, safe, financially secure “investment in security”. Position means to be placed in a certain way in the consumers mind. Having a unique sales position means you can create a unique sales message:

1. Against other similar products (market segment)

2. In new areas (market penetration)

B. Create a strategy

1. Marketing Strategy is the master plan

a. in which you determine actual product, price,+distribution, promotional effort

b. From Marketing Strategy grows creative strategy

2. Creative Strategy is what you say and how you say it. You can’t have a good ad without the following:

Major Checkpoints of Creative Strategy

1. Objective: What the advertising should do

2. Research: Is there any and what does it tell us about perceptions, both positive and negative.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative.

3. Target Audience: Who is your consumer exactly. It’s ok to have more than one target.

4. Key Consumer Benefit: Why should they buy your product?

5. Support/lnformation: A reason to believe that benefit

6. Tone and Manner: A statement of the product “personality” or the personality of the “statement”

III. What works best

A. The three parts of any Ad

1. Benefit Statement: Headline

a. Get your basic message here and see it from the consumers side

b. Keep it simple

c. Inject news

d. Don’t be afraid of Long Headlines (Research shows more sales)

2. Illustrations vs photos

a. Photos generally better

b. Inject story appeal

c. Keep it simple

3. Information/support

a. Support claim or promise

b. Don’t be afraid of long copy. Resistance does not increase after 100 words.

c. Testimonials help, although cliched

4. Call to action–What do you want the consumer to do?

a. Coupons

b. Telephone

c. Visit

5. Forget everything but Rule 1. Benefit, benefit, benefit

IV. Media Strategy –Winning a place in the consumers mind

A. Campaigns–A series of ads with a single goal similar in style and execution, slightly different in message.

B. The importance of frequency

1. Awareness building

2. Opportunity improvement capture

C. Placement

1. Research Media Kits (refer to marketing plan)

2. Flight strategies save money

V. Media


Advantages: Excellent medium for emotional impact and singular message. Fantastic reach.

Disadvantages: If bought with enough Total Rating Point’s, it is far too costly. It is hard to target and there would be lots of waste over the entire SMSA. Production costs to do quality advertising are expensive

Cable television

Advantages: Can select geographic areas specifically, television allows for high emotional impact. Cable is affordable.

Disadvantages: Networks skew too heavily toward particular targets


Advantages: Can be fairly targeted, allows for impact and emotional appeal through broadcast, cost effective.

Disadvantage: Fair percentage of wasted geographical listenership over SMSA.


Advantages: Prestigious environments, color, room for more detailed information, can target psychographically.

Disadvantages: Very few magazines isolate specific areas, so there’s plenty of wasted circulation. Lack of reach with specialty publications. Require many different placements.


Advantages: Can target specific areas with regional placements, large space units are emotionally impressive, newspaper has an urgent, timely feel, and there’s room for longer copy or more photography.

Disadvantages: Normally a retail medium, not usually good for impact or awareness. Limited reach. Poor reproduction

Direct mail

Advantages: Highly targeted, good for long, informative messages.

Disadvantages: Not a prestigious or “important” medium, relatively expensive to produce in 4-color, big impact or large numbers. This medium works best when linked to response offers. It is private and quiet in nature.

Outdoor and transit advertising

Advantages: Easy to target, great for short “reminder” messages.

Disadvantages: Public transportation users become primary target, uses up too much budget if done right, can’t stand alone as primary medium, “good” locations are very limited.

TIM KENNEY: Creative Director and CEO of Tim Kenney Marketing, has 33 years of experience in the design industry. TimÂ?s work has been published in two volumes of American Corporate Identity, Logo 2000 and Logo 2001 and, under his direction, his agency has garnered 100 prestigious design awardsÂ?and still counting

Copyright 2007. Tim Kenney Marketing Marketing, Advertising, Graphic Design, Web Design

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