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5 Insights from Successful Advertisements

What do Old Spice, Apple, and Nike advertisements have in common? What can we learn from award winning and successful campaigns (instead of “be on twitter” and “like me on facebook”) and how can we apply them to our business.

Each campaign is filled with catchy tag lines, witty content, strategic use of sound, concise information, celebrity endorsements, powerful brand associations and so much more. To dissect every possible tactic, brilliant content creation and media usage would take more than a zillion pages for any passionate marketer and advertising critic. We decided to make life simple by reducing the analysis to 5 vital insights from successful Ad campaigns.

5 insights from Successful Ad Campaigns

1) Likeable

Yes, the advertisements have to be simply “likeable” in the sense that you like the advertisement and don’t despise it whether you are not the target market. Pleasant colors, non irritating jingles, representative of cultural norms and most importantly the use of humor. Consumers rank” Likeable” as the most important criteria for a good advertisement. A great example is the old spice commercial where Isaiah Mustafa pops from the bathroom on to a boat and finally ending up on the horse speaking directly to girlfriends, partners and wives. The campaign has attracted a Youtube channel, increased sales to 107% and total web views for all Old Spice brand videos have reached 110 million, surpassing the reach of traditional broadcast.

If your business is stuck with selling features we do “this”,” that”, a little bit of “this” and more of “that” and take 20% of from “this”, then cut your feature list with core benefits that relate with the target audience. A solution to your problems with “this”, a saving with “that” and look cool with a little bit of “that”. Adding humor to your campaigns makes them more likeable, easy to remember and has the potential to go viral. As a result of people liking your ad the campaign creates an emotionally favorable response to your product and your brand.

2) Unique


We all wish we came up with the ipod, then the iphone and then the Ipad but while Steve Jobs legacy continues indefinitely we can all learn the importance of innovation and creativity. Advertisements themselves create an “aha” moment when you know you just witnessed something you haven’t seen before, or that grabs your attention from all the other advertisements. The 5 chewing gum commercials, the cystic fibrosis commercial showing people drowning, there is no substitute for the Zoo Billboards.

The one thing brands struggle for is to be unique, to have a unique offering of services and product that is superior than the competitor offering the same product. Then why not have your advertisement that is unique? Why not take your marketing promotion to a busy street? Most small businesses have limited marketing budgets and as a result make safe decisions when it comes to promoting their product. However, in the age of ever growing advertisements, fragmented media, people’s short attention spans, it is ever more important to be unique.

To get your inspiration from advertisements around the world that create memorable campaigns that drive results visit

3) Know Your Objective

Know your Objective

Any campaign small, big, medium, tiny-winy or even itsy-bitsy needs to be driven by an objective. All Effie award winning campaigns are based on an objective and a metric that they are trying to achieve. Such as increase brand awareness by x%. Increase sales of product y by x%. Increase web site unique visits by x%. While designing your magazine advertisement, outdoor billboards, flyers or any promotional material it is important to know how why you are doing what you are doing. Often times it helps steer your creativity into the right direction and helps you get closer and closer to reaching your objective.

Often companies use multiple media for their campaign such as newsletters, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, direct mail, sales promotion, etc. Having the same message helps bring everything together under the same objective, the same creative, and the same focus, which often multiples your advertising effort as opposed to steering different campaigns into different directions. This also helps you measure your results. In the words of Peter Drucker, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it .

3) Know your Target Market

Know your Target Audience

The greatest obstacle in learning is to think you already know it. It is easier to predict what friends will order at the restaurant as opposed to a stranger. The same idea applies for your target market. Knowing them will help you make better decisions. Are they really on twitter? What do they care about? Do they make decisions on price or convenience?

There are quite a few consumer reports that you can buy online as well as consumer psychographic profiles and web-sites dedicated to identifying new trends. Listen on twitter and identify trends. Successful campaigns use what is new in pop culture, mainstream culture and youth culture to their advantage. Old Spice knows that women make more than 63% of the household decisions and live busy lives in a working culture. They need fantasy and an escape. Nike understands that male youth is inspired by the amazing, the best in sports, the brand is more about sneakers and t-shirts. It encourages you to just do it. To summarize, all campaigns engage with their target market by understanding them and working off their key insights. It not only drives results, it creates relationships.

5) IMC

In Social Psychology a concept called the “mere exposure affect” illustrates that if we see or hear the same message over and over again we tend to internalize or accept it. One bridge between short term memory and long term memory is called “revision”. Why do small-medium sized businesses choose to market different messages using different designs within a short period of time, choosing to market in bursts and short term media that lead to lower results? The answer lies in IMC, which is a management concept that is designed to make all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing work together as a unified force, rather than permitting each to work in isolation.

The communication mix therefore encompasses a multi channel approach. For example, in order to promote a sale at a small furniture store. They may use: direct marketing mail-outs in the area, posters in the surrounding area, large format posters to display on windows, e-mail marketing to key clients, billboard advertising in surrounding area, special invitation mail-outs to designers and decorators. If the same message is used amongst all channels then this approach leverages each effort to derive superior results. With IMC the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and this seems to be an important trait amongst all award winning campaigns.


Let us help you with your next marketing project. At Minuteman press Beltline we are your partners in design, printing, signage, and promotional items.

If you have any questions or feedback on the article, we would love to hear from you, please email Saqib @