Five Qualities of an Effective Advertisement

Five Qualities of an Effective Advertisement

Every day, we are bombarded with advertisements from our TVs, mobile phones, and radio stations. Marketers are constantly reaching out in any way possible to showcase their products, highlight their features, and convince consumers to buy them. As you all know, certain ads and pitches are better and more effective than others. For example, you can probably name a few ads that you love, and if asked, recite it’s whole premise right there on the spot. Why do certain ads stick with us, and other fade away? Some commercials have the unique ability to evoke a certain emotion or manage to create a catchy tune or admirable character. Marketers must consider these factors of appeal when creating their ads in order to make them as effective as possible for their consumers. So, we made a list of what we believe are the top five qualities that make an advertisement strong and effective.

To see the ads we’re discussing, click the hyperlinked numbered qualities, and then check out the marketing analysis.

 1. Attention Grabbing

If there was ever a time to be loud and brash, it would be in an advertisement. Good ads demand attention from their audiences. Most online advertisements can be skipped in 5 seconds, which means that advertisers have 5 seconds to capture the consumer’s attention and the rest of the ad to keep it. Consumers are bombarded with all sorts of advertisements today, therefore, having an ad that stands out and differentiates itself is extremely important. While the “Dumb Ways to Die” advertisement isn’t perfect (since most people don’t even realize it’s a commercial for a Metro system), the graphics and the song grabs the viewer’s attention within the first 5 seconds. It is entertaining and different. In fact, it was so entertaining that the video went viral, garnering almost 150 million views on YouTube alone.

2. Emotion Evoking

Often, the consumer’s decision to buy a product or service is largely based on his or her emotional response to the ad. Using emotion in an advertisement gives the consumers a connection with the brand that transcends beyond a business decision. What we buy is a reflection of who we are to a certain extent, therefore, evoking the right type of emotional response is critical. The Thai Life Insurance “Unsung Hero” commercial is a prime example of emotions transcending all barriers, even culture and language. Regardless of whether you can understand the language or if you’re reading the subtitles (like us over here!), you’re rooting for the protagonist who goes out of his way to help everyone around him. And yes, he is a protagonist, because in a short three minutes, the marketers were able to create an emotional narrative with character depth that resonated with their audience.

3. Informative

For many consumers, especially GenX-ers, simply being exposed to a product/service is not enough reason to buy in itself. If they don’t believe that the promoted item is of superior value compared to competing products or services, they will choose to take their business elsewhere. This is why explaining the various benefits of whatever you are trying to promote (in order to convince consumers that your company can provide superior value) is a vital step for many products. In the case of cars, it is especially smart for Audi to be doubling down on the statistics and automotive details. With GenX-ers as their primary target market (most millennials aren’t looking for a luxury car), detail orientation is key to get people to buy. Many GenX-ers are also parents who focus on the safety features that cars can offer. Information is always good, but in certain industries, it’s very important. After all, comparison statistics are not going to sell a six-year-old on a new Barbie, but details on what clothes and shoes the doll comes with just might.

4. Memorable

You’ve all seen ads that are either: 1) Too dull to elicit any thought or 2) Exciting and possibly even funny, but don’t seem to promote anything. Unsurprisingly, these descriptions do not characterize a good ad; an effective advertisement creates an impression on the viewer, and, more specifically, that impression actually promotes the advertised product or service. Different ads may be more or less memorable to different people, but a good example of commercials that many people may remember are the “Mayhem” series of ads run by Allstate. These ads use humor to stick in the viewers’ minds and allow a good portion of time at the end of each commercial to ensure you know which company is being promoted. When we started brainstorming memorable commercials, the “Mayhem” ones were the first to come to mind, and we knew they were Allstate commercials. Especially considering we are not even their target market (most 19 year-olds are not actively looking to buy insurance), that’s a pretty spectacularly memorable commercial.

5. Persuasive

Ultimately, the biggest purpose of advertisements is to convince consumers to buy a product or a service, which means that ads must be persuasive. Persuasive advertisements are able to increase the demand for the product or service through all the strategies we talked about above. The advertisement must appeal to a consumer’s emotion, logic, and character. If anything is going to convince you to buy the new line of Apple products, it’s this ad. Fast paced, energetic, and full of information, graphics, and Apple’s iconic sleek modernity, the company has perfectly targeted its biggest fan base: millennials and GenX-ers. Persuasion is something of an x-factor in marketing, just that special je ne sais quois that makes an advertisement especially effective. Marketers are constantly looking to create an ad that will entice consumers and send them running to stores (or more likely their laptops these days) to make a purchase.

Questions, comments, concerns? Let us know in the section below! Tell us about some ads that you found to be effective and why? We’d love to hear about them!

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10 thoughts on “Five Qualities of an Effective Advertisement

  1. I think my favorite ads were the AT&T commercials with the kids and adult sitting at the table. I could probably recite several of these ads. After reading your post on the qualities of an effective ad, I believe these ads have many of these qualities. These AT&T commercials with the kids were extremely memorable – it is not unusual for my family to quote one of these many ads at the dinner table or rewatching them as they appeared on the tv. It also really grabs your attention as they revolve around several kids answering questions asked by an adult sitting at the same table. I think the ad is also persuasive. Thanks for the interesting post!

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    1. Thank you for your insightful comment Emily! AT&T does a great job at integrating several of these 5 qualities in their advertisements. The fact that you can still remember these ads so vividly shows just how effective they were. When a company can create effective adds, it strengthens their brand image and equity, which is essential in maintaining a successful company.

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  2. I love most of the superbowl ads, I think most companies do a good job of all 5 of these qualities with them during this time. Do you guys have a favorite commercial, or one that you think employs all of these qualities the best?

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  3. These top five qualities are shown in most products that I have either tried or used. Now, through my facebook feed, I see how the most persuasive and memorable ads stick with me. As a result, when I go to the store or start to online shop, I see how my preference is swayed by these strategies.

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    1. Great comment, Claire! That’s exactly the result that marketers hope to have on their target consumers, especially in today’s increasingly digital and mobile environment. Advertisements really do have an impact on what you choose to buy (or not to buy) in the future.

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  4. It’s interesting to see these five qualities articulated…I think people often underestimate the difficulty and importance of marketing and I have much more respect for what goes into every ad.

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    1. Allie, thanks for commenting! We definitely agree. The amount of time, energy, and preparation that goes into one 30-second ad is immense, but that is what it takes to create a truly effective ad. Marketers must consider every aspect of an ad and try to infer how consumers will react and respond to it.

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  5. The Thai commercials always manage to get me in tears, but it doesn’t make me want to buy the products. Not an ad technique, but the article made me think of another marketing ploy to attract millennials. I remember hearing an NPR podcast that showed how millennials are more likely to support products that are for a good cause like how Warby Parker will give a pair of glasses to each person in need. Thanks for a great post!

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    1. Thank you for your comment! I agree with you about the Thai commercial, which is why having combination of all the elements we talked about in the post is the best way to create the most effective ad! The millennial example is also very interesting. I would agree with you on that point as well. The millennial generation is much more aware of the social impact of the purchases they make and they are the generation that tries to make purchases from ethical companies.

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