Capturing and communicating the essense of your company

What makes a successful ad?

It’s one where every element of its composition engages, arouses, excites, defines and moves the viewer into action.

The task for any advertiser is to marry all five elements together to create something that captures the subject and distinguishes it from its competition. This is precisely what separates a merely creative ad from a successful one.

Take this ad below for Knob Creek Bourbon.


I think it’s really creative. But I don’t think it’s successful. A week from now you will remember the dude sitting alone at the bar staring into his glass but you won’t remember what he was drinking. The ad failed to define the product in a manner that distinguishes it from other spirits. Go ahead, replace Knob Creek with Jack Daniel’s. Or Canadian Club. The ad still works.   

Building an ad campaign around something as difficult and foreboding as hard liquor isn’t easy. But some have. They clearly define their brand, they define their customer and align the two together. Ciroc is well on their way to accomplishing that. Their customer doesn’t sit in empty bars drinking alone. Not by a long-shot.

How well do you advertise your company brand? Are you interchangeable with your competition? Does your brand statement have meaning or is it platitudinous vapor like  "First Class Service, First Class Results", "Making your real estate dreams come true", or "We hold the key to your new home" — in other words, language used by hundreds of other companies that contain little in the way of true meaning?

Flip through your local paper. Scroll through your company website. Check what you have against others. Are you interchangeable? Could your brand just as easily be confused with others?

Now take a look at the ad below. It blew me away. It triggered all my emotions in a way few, if any, real estate ads ever do. 


Not only does this simple, elegant ad engage, arouse, excite, define and move to the viewer to action, it clearly makes a statement that cannot easily be replaced by any other brand in its marketplace.

The success of this ad lies in offering the viewer a glimpse into what lies beyond engagement with the brand. That’s why I found the Knob Creek ad so disturbing. The end result of that experience conjured up images of irresponsibility, desperation and a DWI.

There are a million agents in the industry with a million Knob Creek ads that fail to fire on all cylinders. They fail to grab to viewer by the neck and arouse them.  And yet, it seems to me, given the subject matter at hand (houses) and given the service at hand (helping people move on to the next phase of their life), a million great ad ideas are within reach.

Want to grab your viewer and arouse them?  Try this. Throw what your company has been doing out the window. Forget it ever existed. Imagine you are the client. Ask yourself these questions:

What would arouse your interest? 
What would engage your desire?
What would conjure up a sense of excitement about the process?
What would serve to define and differentiate your company’s brand?
What would activate you to go to the next step and make contact?

Sometimes, one perfect picture, one perfect statement, is all it takes.