We Want Better Ads

If you ask most people their opinion of online advertisements, they generally range from disinterested to distaste. You would be hard pressed to find many people who claim to love advertisements, and rightfully so, they are generally disrupting, often not aimed at our interests or needs, and a good number of them are just plain boring. This doesn’t have to be the case.

Better Creative

Let’s tackle the fun problem first; advertisements don’t have to be boring. In fact, there are some really good ads out there, you know, the ones that make you laugh; cry, and most importantly they engage you.  Every year there are a handful of standouts, often they tell a story, pull on the heartstrings, and relate to the consumer in some fundamental way.  

Some of the best examples from this year come from three very different products. The first is from Met Life, with an ad that ran in Hong Kong. It’s hard to deny the power this video has, and the format itself feels more like a short film than a commercial. Engaging the audience, but also making them feel like they need the product, because who doesn’t want to feel secure?

The second is from Nike, and what’s great about this advertisement is how much it reaches out to the audience who really matter, not the elite athletes, but the every day person who wants to “Just Do It” or at least try to do it.

 

My final example has the best viral components, cute animals being friends. Hats off to Android for capitalizing on our obsession with cute animal videos and compiling these clips of unlikely fur friends, that according to Digitaltrends.com is the most shared ad of all time with $6.4 million shares.

Improving Targeting

Now, what about ad targeting?  We are all used to re-targeted ads, in fact it's the ability to re-target consumers that gives digital advertisers a major advantage over tradition TV or newspaper ad spots. However, most consumers will agree, brands can do better at retargeting and it means moving beyond the basics.

With the data available online and specifically through programmatic marketing, advertisers have the ability to tailor their message to fit the consumer’s needs. The person who just bought a surfboard won’t get much use out of more surfboard ads, but how about a car rack, wet-suit, or surfing travel packages?  Now we are talking.  

An article recently published by Mediapost.com touches on this: ”A major advantage of programmatic creative is the dynamic and sequential messaging that is influenced by rich-data signals… the signals can also be used to adjust creative to better fit the person viewing the ad.”

The Art and Science

Some argue the science of advertising is taking away from the art, that ads have become so calculated that they are no longer the creative masterpieces of times past.  Like this ad, that got a second nod following the Series Finale of Mad Men:

 

There is also an argument, and a strong one, that science and technology are making advertisements more creative and dynamic than ever before. A great example of this is from a new campaign Crayola recently launched, with YouTube star Zach King:

According to adweek.com, “The mini-film is part of larger holiday campaign from Crayola...which includes a range of kid influencers, demonstration videos, in-store sampling and social media.”  It’s easy to see how the use of technology, data, and proper targeting could take advertising to a whole new level.  

The need for quality creative is clear, but quality goes beyond captivating storytelling andrequires the use of data, targeting, and technology to develop the ultimate advertisement.  

Instead of fighting in the corner of science or creativity (now doesn’t that sound familiar) it’s high time both sides of the equation worked together to strengthen the overall proposition that is digital advertising. The end result of a science blended with creativity based advertising approach is far more likely to be relevant and engaging advertising, delivered to appropriate audiences on the right screen, when it’s useful to them. No matter which end of the spectrum you’re approaching it from, that’s a pretty compelling and sustainable result to strive for, and we think audiences would agree.