An advertising execution is the translation of the Copy Strategy in advertisements. Whether we create it ourselves or we work with an agency, how can we confirm the quality of the ad beyond “I like it” and gut-driven judgment? Three main elements help us with this endeavor:
- Product Strategy
- Copy Strategy
- The pivotals of the advertising execution
I encourage you to read 10 key elements of the brand-strategy tree in order to shed light on the technical jargon and to set each element mentioned above in the appropriate context.
Copy strategy and the pivotal elements of an advertising execution
An advertising execution is built upon three key elements:
- Selling idea. Sometimes also called payoff, this is a sentence that translates the brand soul in an easy to understand and characterizing statement. For instance, Gillette: The best a man can get; Coke: Taste the feeling; Toyota: Let’s go places; and MarketingStat: Analysis. Then Decision. When competing products have similar marketing strategies, it is the selling idea that makes the difference. Dash and Dixan both remove stains, and respect colors. The former, however, says it washes whiter while the latter removes tough stains. A strong selling idea brings the benefit to the consumer, making it desirable and unique. It must be believable, provoking, interesting, easy to memorize, or even irritating.
Image 1: Big visual
- Big visual. This is the most effective way of visualizing the brand benefit and aids memorization of the message. Think of laundry detergents lifting stains from textiles, tuna broken with a breadstick (grissino), or diapers absorbing liquids. A useful big visual adds meaning and uniqueness to the selling idea. It introduces the benefit as the hero of the ad. It must be believable and appropriate for the product and for the use the consumer will make of it.
- Story. This is the ad in its wholeness. It is typically found in TV and cinema spots. A strong story is meaningful for the product, different from the stories of competitors, simple to understand, clear, and dramatized, to support its memorization.
Useful questions when judging an ad and its copy strategy
These are the questions I ask when judging an ad execution. If anything isn’t clear to you, let me know and I will help you further.
This old billboard helps to clarify the concept. Can you see the relevance of the following questions concerning this billboard?
Image 2: Creative idea
- Does the ad express and interpret the product strategy? Again, read 10 key elements of the brand-strategy tree to know more about the Product Strategy.
- Is there a creative idea?
- Is the creative idea clear and apparent?
- Does the selling idea effectively translate product strategy and creative idea? The text in the billboard is not really a selling idea, but it could be.
- Is the selling idea provoking and eye catching?
- Are there elements to reinforce the believability of the selling idea?
- Is the selling idea unique?
- Is there a big visual?
- Does the big visual help in visualizing the brand benefit?
- Is the big visual in synergy with the selling idea?
- Is the big visual provoking?
- Does the story connect simply and clearly with the selling idea?
- Is the story dramatized?
Most often I ask these questions while working on the ad concept, perhaps using a story board. If I believe the ad is headed in the right direction and the campaign is an important one (which means it requires a substantial investment, say above a million dollars), most probably I run a concept test with potential users and buyers. If the results are encouraging, there may be a need for fine-tuning; then a second concept test is run to make sure the ad delivers on comprehension, reaction, and memorization. This testing phase may end up in a loop requiring several tests. When the concept is finalized we begin thinking about shooting and production.
Creating ads that deliver is an art, but is even more a science.
You might also be interested in the book Mapping Markets for Strategic Purposes.