Creative Strategy- Implementation & Evaluation

Posted: November 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

“Consumption of vodka has increased steadily since 1998, and the vodka category is double the size of the next distilled-spirits segment, rum. It is ironic that a bland tasting product that was best known for helping Russians make it through the cold has now become a status symbol in the West. “

One brand that has helped propel this revolution of sorts is  Skyy, and how they have reached where they are today is through Creative excellence. The Brand manager says, the strength of their creative and secret behind their success is that they look bigger than they actually are!

Appeals and Execution Styles

Advertising appeal is the approach used to attract the customer’s attention or to influence their feelings towards a particular product, service or cause. How this appeal is turned into an advertising message is known as Creative Execution Style.There are two categories of advertising appeal viz. Rational and Emotional.

The Rational appeal focuses on the functional/utilitarian aspects of the product/service, such as dependability, efficiency and performance. Variants of the rational appeal could be as follows:
• Feature appeal : Focus on the dominant traits
• News appeal : news/announcement about the product/service dominates the advertisement
• Competitive advantage appeal : direct/indirect comparison to another brand is made
• Favorable price appeal: price offer is the dominant message
• Product / service popularity appeal: Focus on number of users and number of experts recommending it

The second form is the Emotional Appeal. They relate to social and/ or psychological needs for purchasing a product or service. The table below presents the bases for emotional appeal.

These creative ads for Kellogs’ Nutrigrain cereal bars appeal to emotional motives such as self-esteem and respect.

Advertisers can use emotional appeals in many ways in their creative strategy. Hallmark, AT&T,Kodak and Oscar Mayer are examples of Advertisers who use poignant ads that bring a lump to the viewer’s throats through commercials that evoke feelings nostalgia and warmth. Studies have shown that such positive appeals favor consumer purchase.

McDonald’s is one brand that has changed its advertising strategy recently and is putting more emotion in its commercials to evoke a feel-good connection with consumers. McDonald’s feels the emotional ads take advantage of the chain’s unique bond with consumers, which is a significant point of differentiation in the
highly competitive fast-food business. This ad of theirs brings a smile to everyone who watches it, and it does not talk about the product features.

Yet another brand in this category would be Dairy Milk. Everything about these ads, right from the dim lights, soft voices and soothing background score add to the appeal.

In a way, these ads are “Transformational”. Transformational ads create feelings, images, meanings, and beliefs about the product or service that may be activated when consumers use it, transforming their interpretation of the usage experience.

Other forms of appeals

    Reminder Advertising:

Objective is to increase brand awareness and thereby improve brand recall. For example, marketers of candy products often increase their media budgets and run reminder advertising around Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and Easter.

    Teaser Advertising:

Designed to build curiosity, interest, and/or excitement about a product or brand by talking about it but not actually showing it. Teasers, or mystery ads as they are sometimes called, are also used by
marketers to draw attention to upcoming advertising campaigns. Teaser campaigns can generate interest in a new product, but advertisers must be careful not to extend them too long or they will lose their effectiveness. generate interest and publicity for them.

A perspective- Everything Old is New again

Advertising generally prides itself on being ahead of the curve and helping to create and define popular culture rather than trying to revisit it. However, recently many advertisers have been bringing back some of their classic advertising characters and commercials rather than looking for new creative ideas.
Astute marketers recognize they cannot rely solely on the recognition and nostalgia generated by past
ads and simply bring back the same thing. Thus, advertisers are seeking to avoid the inherent risks associated with retrospective marketing, primarily by contemporizing the classic elements of their ads to make them relevant to current consumers, especially young people. Case in point would be Pepsi’s extravagant commercial featuring pop star Brittany Spears. Although the commercial has a nostalgic tone, it also has a modern, forward-looking ending as it transitions to the current image for the brand.

That said, sometimes new creative ideas are often put aside for the reassuringly familiar. As one brand identity consultant rightly notes: “When we feel less secure, with less control over our daily lives, we reach out in brands to connect with a time when things felt better, more comfortable. It’s about finding security, what we can trust.”

Brand-Buyer Relationship

The basic concept of emotional bonding is that consumers develop three levels of relationships with brands, as shown in the Figure. The most basic relationship indicates how consumers think about brands in respect to product benefits. This occurs, for the most part, through a rational learning process and can be measured by how well advertising communicates product information. Consumers at this stage are not very brand loyal, and brand switching is common.

At the next stage, the consumer assigns a personality to a brand. For example, a brand may be thought of as self-assured, aggressive, and adventurous, as opposed to compliant and timid. The consumer’s judgment of the brand has moved beyond its attributes or delivery of product/service benefits. In most instances, consumers judge the personality of a brand on the basis of an assessment of overt or covert cues found in its advertising. The strongest relationship that develops between a brand and the consumer is based on feelings or emotional attachments to the brand. Consumers develop emotional bonds with certain brands, which result in positive psychological movement toward them.

Advertising Execution

While it is obviously important for an ad to have a meaningful appeal or message to communicate to the
consumer, the manner in which the ad is executed is equally important. Creative execution is the way an advertising appeal is presented.

An advertising message can be presented or executed in numerous ways:

• Straight sell or factual message
• Animation
• Scientific/technical evidence
• Personality symbol
• Demonstration
• Fantasy
• Comparison
• Dramatization
• Testimonial
• Humor
• Slice of life
• Combinations

The real challenge facing the creative team is how to encompass all these elements in a 30-second commercial. It is the responsibility of the creative specialist(s) to determine whether more than one execution style should be used in creating the ad.

Creative Tactics for Print Advertising

The basic components of a print ad are the headline, the body copy, the visual/ illustrations, and the layout.

Headline: Most advertising people consider the headline the most important part of a print ad. The most important function of a headline is attracting readers’ attention and interesting them in the rest of the message. So in addition to attracting attention, the headline must give the reader good reason to read the copy portion of the ad, which contains more detailed and persuasive information about the product or service.

Headlines can be direct or indirect. In some case subheads may also be used to enhance the readability of the message by breaking up large amounts of body copy and highlighting key sales points.

Body Copy: The main text portion of a print ad is referred to as the body copy. While the body copy is usually the heart of the advertising message, getting the target audience to read it is often difficult. The copywriter faces a dilemma: The body copy must be long enough to communicate the advertiser’s message, yet short enough to hold readers’ interest.

Visual Elements: The visual portion of an ad must attract attention, communicate an idea or image, and work in a synergistic fashion with the headline and body copy to produce an effective message. In some print ads, the visual portion of the ad is essentially the message and thus must convey a strong and meaningful image. Many decisions have to be made regarding the visual portion of the ad: what identification marks should be included (brand name, company or trade name, trademarks, logos); whether to use photos or hand-drawn or painted illustrations; what colors to use (or even perhaps black and white or just a splash of color); and what the focus of the visual should be.

Layout: A layout is the physical arrangement of the various parts of the ad, including the headline, subheads, body copy, illustrations, and any identifying marks. The layout shows where each part of the
ad will be placed and gives guidelines to the people working on the ad.

Creative Tactics for Television

TV is a unique and powerful advertising medium because it contains the elements of sight, sound, and motion, which can be combined to create a variety of advertising appeals and executions. Unlike print, the viewer does not control the rate at which the message is presented, so there is no opportunity to review points of interest or reread things that are not communicated clearly. The video and audio must work together to create the right impact and communicate the advertiser’s message.

The video elements of a commercial are what is seen on the TV screen. The visual portion generally dominates the commercial, so it must attract viewers’ attention and communicate an idea, message, and/or image.

The audio portion of a commercial includes voices, music, and sound effects. Voices are used in different ways in commercials. They may be heard through the direct presentation of a spokesperson or as a conversation among various people appearing in the commercial. A common method for presenting the audio portion of a
commercial is through a voice-over. Another important musical element in both TV and radio commercials is jingles, catchy songs about a product/ service that usually carry the advertising theme and a simple message.

Top 10 jingles of the century

Planning and Production of TV commercials

Advertisers recognize that they need to do more than talk about, demonstrate, or compare their products or services. Their commercials have to break through the clutter and grab viewers’ attention; they must often appeal to emotional, as well as rational, buying motives. Many of the most popular advertising campaigns are characterized by commercials with strong entertainment value, like the “Whassup?” campaign for Budweiser, the humorous “Got milk” ads, musical spots for the Gap, and the many stylish and engaging Nike ads

Planning the Commercial

• The various elements of a TV commercial are brought together in a script, a written version of a commercial that provides a detailed description of its video and audio content
• Once the basic script has been conceived, the writer and art director get together to produce a storyboard, a series of drawings used to present the visual plan or layout of a proposed commercial


Once the storyboard or animatic of the commercial is approved, it is ready to move to the production phase, which involves three stages:

1. Preproduction—all the work and activities that occur before the actual shooting/ recording of the commercial
2. Production—the period during which the commercial is filmed or videotaped and recorded
3. Postproduction—activities and work that occur after the commercial has been filmed and recorded

Client Evaluation and Approval of Creative Work

While the creative specialists have much responsibility for determining the advertising appeal and execution
style to be used in a campaign, the client must evaluate and approve the creative approach before any ads are produced. A number of people on the client side may be involved in evaluating the creative work of the agency, including the advertising or communications manager, product or brand managers, marketing director or vice president, representatives from the legal department, and sometimes even the president or chief executive officer (CEO) of the company or the board of directors.
For example, the Chiat/Day agency had to convince Apple’s board of directors to air the famous “1984” commercial used to introduce the Macintosh personal computer. Apple’s board thought the commercial,
which was based on the concept of Big Brother from George Orwell’s classic novel 1984, was too controversial and might be detrimental to its image, particularly in the business market.

In many cases, top management is involved in selecting an ad agency and must approve the theme and creative strategy for the campaign. Evaluation and approval of the individual ads proposed by the agency often rest with the advertising and product managers who are primarily responsible for the brand. A careful evaluation should be made before the ad actually enters production, since this stage requires considerable time and money as suppliers are hired to perform the various functions required to produce the actual ad.


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