Carving Out Space in the Ad Crowd
Perspectives > Blog Post

Carving Out Space in the Ad Crowd

May 12, 2015

Lori Latusek

In order to stand out from the crowd and resonate with key audiences, brands need to create content that stands out in an extremely cluttered print and digital ad space (not to mention gets consumers to stop pressing fast-forward on their TVs). Some noteworthy companies are cutting through the chaos by creating smart ties to pop culture, making memorable and surprising statements, or highlighting real consumers.

In order to stand out from the crowd and resonate with key audiences, brands need to create content that stands out in an extremely cluttered print and digital ad space (not to mention gets consumers to stop pressing fast-forward on their TVs). Some noteworthy companies are cutting through the chaos by creating smart ties to pop culture, making memorable and surprising statements, or highlighting real consumers. We’d like to highlight a few brands that put their thinking caps on and developed ads that stuck in the minds of consumers.

Capitalizing on Pop Culture. It’s amazing how rapidly videos and pictures can go viral. What’s even more impressive? Brands that wisely – and swiftly – take advantage of these viral hot topics:.

  • The Salvation Army: When the black and blue or white and gold “Dressgate” phenomenon swept the nation in February, they immediately created smart, powerful print ads to raise awareness of domestic violence.
  • Samsung: The brand took the plunge into pop culture when the smartphone company created a quick commercial to challenge rival brands to take the viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, all while smartly showing the Samsung Galaxy S5 is waterproof.
  • Truth: The anti-smoking campaign guru developed a comedic music video with a serious statement. The video spoofs dating app Tinder and shines light on smokers being less attractive. The #leftswipedat campaign, primed for their target Millennial audience, encourages rejecting potential suitors who smoke.

Making Bold Statements. Brands who might have taken a safe route in the past have hopped onto a road less traveled by making their messages more risqué.

  • Cottonelle: Over the years, the brand has progressed from innocently touting the soft bathroom tissue as a “touch of cotton” to bravely talking about going where the sun doesn’t shine. Their latest message “Go Commando” has taken an extra surprising, yet memorable, step by stating that their new CleanRipple is so efficient, underwear is no longer needed! Their “controversial” ads have women and men stepping out of the restrooms and showing off their non-existent undies.
  • Welch’s: For decades, we’ve seen commercials with adorable children talking about all the goodness that is put into these juices, which lures both kids and parents with the comparison of 100% juice to sugary alternatives. But the brand’s recent ad seems to be targeting adult consumers by sharing the news that Welch’s grape juice has some of the same heart health benefits of wine. Granted, they are doing this through talking grapes, but it still perks up a wine drinker’s ears.

Forgoing Actors for the Real Deal. Sure, using “real people” in commercials isn’t exactly a new trick – it’s rare to watch a TV show today without seeing at least one ad with hidden cameras on someone in a real-life setting, such as a place of work, bar or focus group – but it is effective. Some of these ads cleverly highlight authentic reactions to products, and others are a bit more emotional and not actually about a product at all, but about making people truly happy.

    • Chevrolet: Using focus group settings, the brand drives home a variety of points about their cars and trucks including blind spot alerts, pre-set text messaging, diagnostic emails, and Wi-Fi connection through the eyes of real consumers, from kids to Millennials to seniors, across various ethnic backgrounds
  • Honda: While you wouldn’t necessarily associate a random act of helpfulness with a car brand, Honda’s recent slew of commercials make every day people’s dreams come true, whether they are buying them a guitar, paying off student loans, or turning a blood drive into a big success.
  • Bud Light: The recent “Coin” commercial conveys an adventure dream night – how often does a random patron get a spontaneous offer from the bartender that lands him in the role of Pac-Man in a life-sized video game?
  • Ad Council: They created an emotional commercial that shows real people being affectionate behind a giant X-ray screen and allows viewers to make their own assumptions about who is behind the screen. The brand then drove the “love has no labels” message home by revealing the skeletons were couples or friends with different races, religions or sexual preferences.

Lori Latusek

Associate Director, Communications & Media Practice

As Associate Director of Kelton’s Communications & Media Practice, Lori is in charge of working with the world’s largest PR and communications agencies and their clients to create compelling...

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