What makes a great ad?

The simple answer is impact.

The reality is that with any advertisement, regardless of the medium (print, online, outdoor, radio, etc.), you must make an impression. Worse than making a bad impression, is making no impression at all. 19th century American showman, and circus owner P.T. Barnum is quoted as saying “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Meaning of course, that regardless of whether people are saying good things, or bad things, at least they are talking about you.

A general rule in ad design is less is more. A good ad should make you think, make you laugh, make you talk about it, but at the very least remember it.

Clients are often tempted to ensure their ad is packed full of copy and as much information as possible once they have made the decision to invest. However this just creates a cluttered mess that can be confusing, and get lost amongst the many messages we are inundated with every day. It is far more effective to develop a concise coherent message that resonates with your target audience, and doesn’t risk undermining your brand.

Here are the eight principles that define a great ad:

  1. it is memorable;
  2. it provides information quickly, and succinctly;
  3. it is easily recalled;
  4. it doesn’t confuse, or overwhelm the viewer;
  5. it connects with the target audience, and with their needs, and desires;
  6. it includes a clear, prominent brand logo;
  7. it features the company in a way that is consistent with their values and brand persona;
  8. it makes clear what the ad is for.

Whatever your ad needs are, consider hiring an agency to help guide you through the process. Not only will an agency help you craft a more effective message, but their connections with media outlets will often give you preferred or reduced rates when it comes time to buy the media slots to place your ads.


Photo courtesy of our Creative Director, Jared