Stupid TV ads are most likely to be remembered. But here’s the deal – people tend to remember the commercial not the product or brand. How does that look like? You hire the best writers and creative concept designers. They give you a funny punch line or something very stupid that makes you laugh. You buy the idea and bingo! The commercial has gone viral! NOT THE PRODUCT!
Okay! Why does that happen? Why won’t a TV commercial work? Umm, Don Draper (Yeah we know he ain’t real but come on, humour yourself) would say –
a] The TV ad writer would rather be in Hollywood.
b] The client thinks the world is just waiting to see his brand.
TV ad campaigns work, when done right. But today the viewer owns a digital TV that allows fast forward or skipping the ad, a premium Netflix or Amazon Prime Video which are mostly ad-free. So while analytics say that your TV commercial video was served to 1 million people, in reality only 1% of those actually watched the ad and even fewer showed interest in the product.
Photo by Sean Do on Unsplash
It does look like your brand has a snowball’s chance in hell? A report from Huffington Post offers good news-
Silencing the naysayers and advertising pundits, TV continues to reign supreme. Even e-commerce giants such as Amazon and ironically enough, Netflix, continue to advertise on television.
Do you know what they did last summer?
Television has changed and evolved. The key to produce a TV commercial video that stays fresh and lasts longer is a deep understanding of the evolving audience. People are still watching HBO, CNN, BBC, Star TV along with several national and regional TV networks specific to countries and continents.
What’s the psyche of these viewers? What do they want? How do they think? A few things stand out –
- TV viewers are most likely a multi-channel audience that’s watching TV, video streaming channels and Youtube. You know, they want to keep up with the Kardashians!
- This is an audience that’s family and community-oriented. It’s like the ‘Art of Trench’ for the family.
- This audience trusts TV more than social media or internet channels. Even Trump sounds credible here!
- They are inclined towards routine, schedules and like to plan their days around TV shows, football matches and news. It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear.
Ah, you get the drift. So how do you make these viewers swoon? How do you create an absolutely irresistible TV ad campaign that stays fresh and lasts longer in the memory of this audience?
We studied 30 best TV ads of all time and came up with a list of six unmistakable techniques that were common to these ads. Jump right in.
1 Break the convention
Find out a clever way to surprise and challenge the existing knowledge or intelligence of TV viewers. If you can go completely against the settled order or things, you achieve something different and unique that lasts. We can bet you a dollar to a donut that a TV ad campaign that has the ability to compel the viewers with a completely unconventional idea, will work. For instance, you know that some TV audience may have the option of the ‘Skip’ button, your ad may simply begin with – Go ahead, Skip this ad and miss the message. This kind of thinking or messaging hooks the audience without fail.
The ‘Cog’ by Honda
The famous Honda Accord TV advert created in the year 2003 was the definition of breaking convention. It required careful planning, a budget of £100,000 and 60 takes. The advert created a sense of marvel for the detailing of the car hooking the viewers through a chain-reaction sequence all through the ending with a strong message – “It feels nice when something…….just works.” In 2016, Honda released the first ever sequelto the ad to compel buyers to buy only Honda car body parts. Genius much?
2 A clear hook and a clear message
Once you break the convention, it’s vital to have a clear hook – the one factor that would compel them to watch it. We are not talking about making one TV ad a hit, we are talking about a whole campaign. The entire campaign must have a common hook that makes the viewers notice and then eventually create a ‘recall’ value using or tweaking the same hook. Sometimes this hook may be accompanied by the brand tagline or a catchy jingle or one-liner that’s easy to remember. What’s easy to remember will automatically last longer because of its high recall value.
3 The seven deadly emotions
Most successful TV ad campaigns of all time played on the deepest desires of their viewers. These ads created a shock value or mockery of the things people really want or expect. They addressed viewer’s pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth. When interpreted in the modern context, you can say that your television ad should be able to addressed the deepest human emotions such as fear, jealousy, happiness, shock or surprise, anger, disgust or sadness – thus creating a compelling need to watch the entire ad till the end. Playing on these emotions also creates scope for adding a nice song, a memorable tagline or creating a sense of general well being. Make it entertaining and make it heart-stirring and you will make it.
Sony Bravia’s bouncing balls ad
A genius TV ad campaign where everything is real – the bouncing balls, the actual locations and the children. The idea was to give out the message about the colours that Sony’s TV displays.
Burger King’s Bullying Junior
This ad compelled so many people and channelised voluntary influencer marketing with celebrities like Kim Kardeshian tweeting about it. Burger King cleverly created this ad that called out not only bullies but also bystanders. The burgers were labelled ‘bullied’ or ‘unbullied’. This was such a timeless concept and would remain fresh for several years.
Sandy Hook Promise’s Evan
Giving an impression of a love story in the beginning, the TV ad campaign called ‘Evan’ completely took the viewers by surprise. Sandy Hook Promise wanted to send out the message that often people ignored hints about someone who may be disturbed. Such a neglected person may be depressed or under trauma and negligence may result in school shootings or bombings.
4 Messaging is synonymous to brand name
So you made your ad campaign compelling enough, funny enough and yet the brand name was forgotten. This is any advertiser’s worst nightmare. The most successful TV commercial production companies keep their eyes focussed on the overall messaging. You may use a CGI figure or not; a famous Hollywood star or not; start with a funny line or not but the messaging needs to be almost synonymous to the branding or the product. This prevents your product from dying out in the memory of viewers and creates.
Thanda matlab Coca Cola
For instance, Coca Cola created an ad campaign that tried to make its beverage brand synonymous to ‘coldness’. The campaign was released in India during summer and established Coca Cola as a product that people would always thirst for when they feel hot. It’s punchline in Hindi – Thanda matlab Coca Cola (Cold means Coca Cola) still resonates with buyers.
5 The ‘Glocal’ factor
Though it’s largely a matter of strategy and budget, most lasting TV ad campaigns tickled a universal yet local side of cultures. This is applicable to campaigns whose objective is to ‘localize’ and place the ad only in specific regions with specific demographic or global ads that are served to worldwide audience.
Where’s the beef?
Wendy’s burgers – initially created for American viewers 25 years ago – still can make people hungry. It had a simple hook – Where’s the beef? What was the message? That the competitor’s burgers are so small that you have to look for the beef patty but Wendy’s burgers are so large that they stick out from the bun. They took the ‘local’ factor of America’s obsession towards ‘large sizes’ and created a successful ad campaign.
6 One brand personality across all channels
It may be the brand colours you use, similar kind of humour, the same CGI character or simply a certain kind of cinematography, it’s important that all the ads in the series have a similar personality. You may create shorter versions of your ads to serve different kind of demographics and make your viewers crave for the longer or the full version. Many brands also weave an episode-wise narrative in their ad campaign by adding the line – To be continued. Millennial viewers would typically look for an advert they like online by searching from your brand name. Don’t forget to launch the same TV ad on your Youtube or Facebook channel so your product or ad becomes more accessible whenever your viewer wants.
Compare the Meerkat
BGL group created an interesting TV ad campaign for British and Commercial TV in the year 2008 for advertising a car insurance comparison website called Comparethemarket.com. The advert featured a CGI created Meerkat by the name of Aleksandr Orlov portrayed as the founder of Comparethemeerkat.com – a website for profiling Meerkats. The campaign cleverly uses the same concept throughout all of its ads where Aleksandr clarifies that his company is actually Comparethemeerkat and not Comparethemarket – which is a car insurance price comparison website. Even before the ad became successful, it created an impression and curiosity around Comparethemarket.com.
The ad series featured Aleksandr’s family, several other characters but the message and the ad personality remained same. So successful was the campaign that comparethemarket.com was ranked as the 4th most visited insurance website in the UK, up from 16th in January 2008 and the site’s overall sales doubled.
Pretty pictures are not making the cut anymore when it comes to television ad campaigns. Your viewers are smarter and have a general aversion for adverts. They like adverts as long as you appear cool and not too bent on selling your product. Tell us what you think.
Rinku Chaudhary believes that everyone has knowledge to tell, all you have to do is learn. You can reach Rinku Chaudhary at https://blog.sinemafilms.tv/.