There is a science to creating anything. How do you create the perfect ad?
By ‘science’ I mean ‘steps’ or ‘procedures’ or ‘formulas’ or ‘methods’. For example, the science of frying an egg is 1) buy an egg 2) buy vegetable oil 3) start a small fire, preferably on a cooker 4) put a small quantity of oil in a pan 5) allow it heat 6) break the egg directly into the pan 7) observe till the transparent membrane of the egg has become white 8) remove egg from oil
However, as there is a science, there is an art. I don’t know about the dictionary definition of ‘the art of creating something’. I do know, however, that ‘art’ in this context refers to details, the little things science would usually not bother with.
Though some people would argue that these are mere semantics because both terms can be and are used interchangeably, for the sake of this article, let us agree that they are different.
To create a print ad (an advert that will appear in newspapers/magazines and any other print medium), you need a headline, a nice image and some words (referred to in the advertising industry as copy) to further elaborate your pitch. The last one is not a requirement.
In fact, there are several ads that defy these rules. We have great print ads that have just text, no images. We’ve also had great print ads with only images, no text. So the above information can basically be considered a guide.
That’s the science.
The art of creating the perfect print ad happens when you capture something eternal, and present it in a way that is fun/exciting/emotional/interesting. That’s when you have the perfect ad, one that would probably reverberate for a long time. Let me share a couple of examples to show what I mean.
Does the name Fido Dido sound familiar?
If you were old enough to watch and understand cartoons in the nineties and had regular access to television, the name wouldn’t be strange to you. Fido Dido is a character – a mascot – for the popular beverage 7up. He was white – not white as in Caucasian, but white as in the colour. He had hair that looked like noodles, was skinny, and wore a huge t-shirt, shorts and trainers – all bigger than him.
Fido looked like a surfer – he looked like a part of the culture that was popular at that time. The first time I saw Fido Dido, it was in a TV ad. I used to draw, so anything that was drawn intrigued me. In the ad, a guy was sketching Fido on a piece of paper and had gone as far as the upper body before he got distracted, temporarily abandoning the sketching. Fido wanted to come to life so much that it picks up the pencil and finishes the drawing. And then, he steps off the paper and into ‘real life’.
Within weeks of its appearance, Fido Dido was a hit with everyone. Adults found his antics amusing, teenagers like me wanted to be him. Can you guess why he went over so well?
Fido Dido was cool.
Human truth: everybody wants to be cool – till now.
Let’s come to now.
You would have seen a TV or newspaper ad from Coca Cola that says something like “Share happiness”or words to that effect, right? And then, they took it a step further by making bottles that had people’s names on them. Share a Coke with – is still quite a popular sight in stores today. And then, as if that’s not enough, they now offer people customised bottles.
This particular Coca Cola campaign has had unparalleled success across the world, with several interpretations and versions. For example, in Italy a Coke truck stops in a neighbourhood and sets up an instant buffet, inviting people to come enjoy a free lunch. You can visit YouTube to see some of the videos.
Why is this campaign so popular? Simply because it thrives on another simple human truth – everybody wants to be happy.
Another great publicity is Dove’s What Is Beauty campaign. Some women are asked to describe their best friends to an artist while he created a sketch. And then, this described best friend would be brought into the studio to see what they looked like through the eyes of someone else. Human truth? We all need to be reminded every now and then how beautiful we are.
I tell you, it’s almost as though you can get away with anything once you can capture a simple human truth. The ad will do its work and people will do the rest. The same is true for works of art – literature, paintings, movies, etc. If it’s great, it will sell itself.
Remember that in creating the perfect ad, all you need to do is remind us what matters and you will have our hearts, our loyalty and, ultimately, our money.
Which is why you would advertise in the first place.
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