Everybody loves daring and creative advertising, but no one in this industry seems to have the courage to try it themselves. We all talk about the cool consumer ads we see on television and billboards that grab our attention. But when it comes to our own advertising, we settle for the same old safe advertising that makes us feel good but does nothing for our brand or our message. Then, we complain that our advertising is not doing anything for us! What did we expect when we had nothing earth-shattering in our ads?
If you want to advertise like Apple, take their 1984 Super Bowl ad, for example. That ad stated, “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like 1984.” It ran exactly one time but is the most famous ad in the history of advertising. Or do you remember their “think different” ad that brought the company back?
You have to get over yourself and think about your audience. What does your audience want to see? What are they going to remember? What are they going to feel? You are trying to get people to feel good about the ad, themselves, and their decision to buy your product, which is about becoming a part of your tribe or cult, if you will.
Here are five incredibly important things you need to do (as well as some you shouldn’t) when considering truly innovative, creative, and provocative advertising.
1. Go Your Own Way
Don’t make your advertising trendy. In the end, trendy is trouble. Don’t be like everyone else.
2. Be Painfully Provocative
Make yourself uncomfortable because good advertising is meant to make you uncomfortable. It is supposed to move your potential customers, and that cannot be done with safe, cozy advertising.
3. It’s All About the Audience—Your Potential Customers
When you are tempted to say something like, “I don’t like it,” or that the team doesn’t like it, remember that you do not buy your product. You are not the customer, so who cares whether you like it or not? Advertising is completely customer-focused—not focused on you and your team. What matters is what will provoke the customer to buy your product.
4. Be Courageous
I can guarantee that not everyone is going to like your advertising or your message. If it’s good, then who cares? How many times do you send out 5,000 flyers, newsletters, or ads, and out of those 5,000 sent, three people comment that they didn’t like it? Should you change the campaign? No! Especially when you receive positive comments and results from most of the other 4,997 people who saw the ad. Many people are negative, looking for one tiny flaw because they think it makes them look smarter or more discerning somehow. Ugh!
5. Be Brave and Bold With Your Advertising
Go out on a limb and try something that no one has ever tried before. Be so bold that you have butterflies in your stomach the day the ad comes out. And always remember that the more you try, the more prone you are to fail. Creativity is failure endured until it becomes a success.
And finally, a couple of don’ts. It’s all about the message to the customer—not the product. A lot of us sell pretty boring products. It is what the product does for the customer that matters, not what it looks like. If you are selling chemicals, coatings, or laminates, don’t put a photo of the product in the ad; that’s a big giant yawn. Instead, show what the product can do for the customer, the places it will take them, the capabilities it will give them. Show them their future with your product; that’s the important part. And don’t ignore the professionals you hire to create your advertising. Often, they know more about getting your message out than you do about your product. Learn to trust them, and they will do well by you.
Innovative and Creative
One shameless plug before I go. I-Connect007 has an entire team of innovative, creative graphic artists and sales experts. Check out all of the ads that sparkle in these publications. If you trust the I-Connect007 team to work with you on your messaging, you will produce great, provocative advertising that gets your brand noticed and remembered.
It’s only common sense.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.