What Creates an Effective Advertisement?

What creates an effective advertisement? This is a question that is asked over and over in my advertising classes. A liberal arts education is different in terms that we don’t just study advertising in practicum, but also in theory. When you break into the theory of advertising, you being to look at different aspects of an ad, to the point where it feels as if you’re in a hybrid communication/psychology/sociology course.

When studying the effectiveness of an advertisement, the professor will put it on the board and ask us to discuss it. I would say that 9 times out of 10, I have studied these specific advertisements multiple times and have read about them on several blogs. A few weeks ago, we studied the United Colors of Benetton death row inmates campaign. After a 20 minute class discussion, the professor asked if this ad was effective, I raised my hand and said yes, that if we just spent 20 minutes in a professional setting discussing this ad, then it was effective.

Advertisers should look at their ads beyond simply generating sales, they should incorporate the idea of public relations into their advertisements as well. I heard a few weeks back from an industry professional that through the years, public relations professionals and advertisers will merge closer and closer together. This is an effective strategy that the industry needs to take into account, the idea that advertisements themselves can generate buzz beyond traditional methods.

Guerilla marketing has been a huge fascination of mine, and would love to work at a firm that solely focused on it. This style of marketing “gets it” in terms of buzz marketing into advertisements. Advertisers need to look outside the scope of sales and numbers and look at their advertisements from a public relations point of view; this view could lead to a breakthrough and to the future of advertising.


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