That’s Entertainment by @HFoenander
By Henry Foenander
What makes a good ad? It’s the golden question. One which is inherently difficult to answer. It’s easy to assume the answer is ‘one that sells’. Yet often, famously good ads don’t sell a product, they sell the brand. So it can’t just be that. To look at this question properly, we have to think about advertising in a grand sense.
I have always maintained that advertising is one of the most accurate social commentaries we have access to. You can tell a lot about a specific time or place by what they react to best in advertising. This makes advertising fluid in nature, it shifts and alters along with the publics interests. It is our job as creatives, to follow those shifts. Just as a prominent designer would never send a model down the catwalk in last year’s getup, we should be wary of what our audiences want.
So back to the question. If advertising is truly fluid, it follows that that there is no answer. However, there is one element which seems to prevail in every great ad. Recently the class has been posting their favourite ads on a Facebook group (a fantastic idea). And in each and every ad one thing stands out, they are all entertaining.
Now that might seem obvious, but it’s something that I believe is often overlooked by agencies. It seems that the majority of ads attempt to throw so much information at the audience that they overload them and lose their attention. The ads I’m talking about are the ones that scream features at people and cite quotes and statistics like they’re Wikipedia on steroids. But how much of that information sticks with the average Joe? Not a lot.
So what does make you remember an ad? A simple, well thought-out story often works. As does an uncomplicated theme. A witty piece of copy that doesn’t take an hour to read will always be effective. And a beautiful piece of visual imagery can wipe the floor with a CGI enveloped mess. These things are entertaining, we know they are entertaining because they are the same principles that make a good piece of art or cinema. I often wish agencies would slow down, and remember that the audience, is actually an audience.
The term has only just started and I can’t claim to be an expert just yet but I think it’s a useful bit of advice to remember that in a world so saturated with information, people will only pay attention to things that they want to pay attention to.
To sum this little pondering up, remember that advertising is an art, and art should always be something that’s desired.