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Transcript of Advertising Creativity
Good creative strategy and execution can often be a major factor in launching a new product, in building brand equity, in reversing the fortunes of a struggling brand.
It can create interest or excitement in a low interest category or for an ordinary product.
It can arouse emotions about a brand.
It can be an asset to the total marketing communications plan. Creative advertising can be the anchor around which promotions etc. are built (it can lay solid foundations for everything else).
It can differentiate itself from 'me-too' products (i.e. unoriginal advertising; copy-cat advertising.
It can genuinely inform the target market.
Good creative work makes advertising more vivid and this attracts attention, maintains interest and stimulates consumer thinking.
Good creativity can help advertising persuade - if it is relevant and meaningful.
It can position the product in the mind of the target consumer.
Only creativity can transform boring brand messages into something interesting and reignite a brands well trodden path into something new.
Only creative advertising can achieve advertising objectives. Poor creativity can do more harm than good to a brand. CAUTION:
Highly creative advertising does not necessarily guarantee increase in sales or brand revival! Many ads have won awards for creativity but failed to lead to increased sales. Some say that the success of advertising should not only be based on sales. However, finding the balance between good creativity and effective advertising is the key - the challenge for creative people. According to Shimp - effective, creative advertising should satisfy the following considerations: It is created for a specific target audience (it must extend from a sound marketing strategy).
It understands and thinks about target consumers needs (must take the consumers view)
It communicates a specific benefit in a creative way (it must be persuasive).
It pinpoints a specific action that the consumer takes or should take (breaks through the clutter).
Good advertising understands that people do not buy products - they buy product benefits (should never make promises it cannot deliver - leads to resentment / brand failure).
Above all - effective advertising gets noticed and remembered - and gets people to act ( don't use humour for humours sake etc.) WHAT IS CREATIVITY? Creativity is a quality possessed by persons that enables them to generate novel approaches in situations, generally reflected in new and improved solutions to problems. Perspectives on what constitutes creativtiy in advertising may vary - and does: At one extreme there are those that argue that advertising is only creative if it sells the product. The focus is on what impact the message or campaign has on SALES and not on novelty, innovation or awards.
At the other extreme there are those whose focus is on artistic and aesthetic creativity and it MUST be novel, unique and original. They contend that this is the only way to break through competitive clutter and have impact. And they win awards! Perhaps, as always, the answer to what constitutes creativity is probably somewhere between these two mentioned extreme positions. Advertising creativity should, however, be viewed as the ability to generate fresh, unique and appropriate ideas that can be used as solutions to communications problems. This recognises that creative advertising ideas are those that are novel, original and appropriate. To be appropriate and effective, a creative idea must be relevant or have some significance to the target audience. Many ad agencies recognise the importance of developing advertising that is creative and different, yet communicates relevant information to the target audience. e.g. DDB Needham Worldwide maintains that the creative philosophy that advertising must focus on ROI. This is not 'Return On Investment' - but Relevance, Originality and Impact ... Advertising is a disciplined, goal-oriented field that tries to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time; persuasion that results in a sale or change in opinion. There must be RELEVANCE.
The essence of a creative idea is that no one else has thought of it before ... Original means new or one of a kind.
Unoriginal advertising is what we call 'me-too' ... it is a common or obvious idea. Look-alike advertising copies somebody else's great idea. It is important to remember that it is only a great idea the first time around .. after that it is a cliche. This comes about because finding a 'new idea' is not particularly easy.
To be creative there must be IMPACT. A great ad can break through the clutter as opposed to 'washing over' the audience. D'Arcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles -
Universal Advertising Standards 1. Does this advertising position the product simply and with unmistakable clarity?
Target audience should instantly know what the product is for, whom it is for and why they should be interested. It needs to be simple, clear and focused.
2. Does this advertising bolt the brand to a clinching benefit?
Must be compelling and persuasive to the customers benefit - not some unique but insignificant benefit.
3.Does this advertising contain a power Idea?
It is this core creative idea that powers the communications to come. The ideal power idea should be:
describable in a simple word, phrase or sentence without reference to final execution
attract the prospects attention
revolve around the clinching benefit
allow you to brand the advertising and
prospect should be able to vividly experience the clients pridcut or service
4. Does the advertising design result in brand personality?
All brands do something, but great brands also are soemthing. They ahve a brand personality. Think Budweiser "Wazzup" campaign...
5. Is this advertising unexpected?
It must cut through the clutter. It must be exceptional. Sameness is suicide.
6. Is this advertising single-minded?
Find a way to say something right and in a brilliant original way ... you then don't have to waste time saying anything else ...
7. Does this advertising reward the prospect?
Message penetration via a treat, smile, laugh ... emotional stimulus makes the advert worth seeing again ... and again ...
8. Is this advertising visually arresting?
An ad that is compelling, riveting, a nourishing feast for the eyes ... is remembered and played back in your mind ...
9. Does this advertising exhibit painstaking craftsmanship?
Why settle for good, when there is great? Go for the best in concept, design and execution. That is the only way the work can sparkle. The Creative Process The creative process doesn't happen without careful preparation and planning.
In 1986, von Oech developed a four-step creative process model utilizing key characters:
the explorer, the artist, the judge and the warrior. The Explorer
The role of the explorer is to research facts, experiences, history, knowledge and feelings. The creatives start by examining the information they have. They review the creative brief and the marketing and advertising plan; they study the market, the product and the competition. They look outside the given field or industry for new ideas - they stand back and look at the bigger picture and try and not overlook the obvious. The Artist
For creative people, the role of the artist is both the toughest and most rewarding. It involves the difficult task of reviewing all the pertinent information gathered by The Explorer, analysing the problem and searching for a key verbal or visual concept to communicate what needs to be said.It means creating a mental picture of the ad or commercial before any copy is written or artwork begun.
It's where the search for the big idea, that flash of insight - takes place. The big idea is a bold, creative initiative that builds on the strategy, joins the product benefit with consumer desire in a fresh and involving way, brings the subject to life and makes the reader or the audience stop, look and listen. The Judge
The next role in the creative process is the judge. This is when the creative experts evaluate the practicality of their 'big idea' and decide whether to implement, modify or discard it. This is a delicate role. The creatives must be critical enough to ensure that the idea is worth fighting for. The judges purpose is to help produce good ideas, not to revel in criticism.
The Judge needs to ask certain questions when evaluating the 'big idea':
Is this idea an aha! or an uh-oh! (what was my initial reaction?)
What's wrong with this idea? (And what's right about it?)
What if it fails? (Is it worth the risk?)
What is my bias? (Does the audience have the same bias?)
What's clouding my thinking? (Am i wearing blinkers?)
George Gribbin, the late president of Young &Rubicam, suggested that the judge should use the word SCORE for Television commercials:
S = simplicity
C = credibility
O = originality
R = relevance
E = empathy
For Printed advertisements, the judge should ask the following questions:
Is the ad a stopper?
Is the product the hero?
Is the ad completely believable?
Is the ad likeable?
Is the theme one that will last?
For Radio commercial, the judge should always ask the following quastions:
Is it a stopper?
Could I hear what was said or sung?
Did they use great music?
Is it simple, to the point and easy to grasp?
Did we create a favourable image? The Warrior
In the final step the creative process the warrior carries the concept into action. This means getting the 'big idea' approved, produced and placed in the media. The warrior's orders include: be bold, examine criticsim in advance, overcome obstacles, be persistent, enjoy your victories and learn from defeat.
When the client approves the campaign the creative person's role as a warrior is only half over. Now the campaign has to be executed. The warrior now takes it through the intricate details of design and production to see that it is completed on time, within budget and with the highest quality possible. Blocks to Creativity There comes a time when creative experts experience creative blockages. This is what de la Harpe referred to as ‘creative blindness’. This could be due to an information overload, mental or physical exhaustion, stress, fear or insecurity. But for the most part it is usually the style of thinking that is being used that is the problem. There can be several reasons for creative blocks:
The explorer provides a lot of fact and information based information. Sometimes the problem is that the creative is then thinking in a fact-based way when they should rather be thinking in a more emotional, value based style and the problem is they haven’t shifted over. This can be a difficulty for some creatives.
If the client is a fact-based thinker, the problem could also be that the creative is thinking too much like the client or feels that the client is forcing this situation. This can be a problem for the creative reputation of the agency and sometimes agencies even resign the account because of ‘creative differences’.
Creative fatigue can also settle in when an agency has served on a particular account for a long time and literally exhausted all possible ideas. This also happens when a client has rejected a series of concepts – and inspiration is lost. This either requires a totally different creative team to step up or for the account to be resigned. a
Different agencies are known for very specific approaches and styles. Before looking at some of these key global examples, its probably best to get an idea of what these are.
Hard Thinking – refers to concepts like logic, reason, precision, consistency, work, reality, analysis … Creatives or agencies that take this approach tend to be linear thinkers and prefer facts and figures – hard data that they can analyze and control. On the ‘hard side’ things are right and wrong, black or white.
Soft Thinking – refers to less tangible concepts such as metaphor, dream, humour, ambiguity, play , fantasy and hunch. Creatives or agencies that take this approach are value-based thinkers and make decisions based on intuition, values, emotions and ethical judgements. Ads tend to be soft, subtle, intuitive and metaphorical. This style is often used to advertise fast-moving consumer goods and services. On the ‘soft side’ there may be many emotional factors, many options, many grey areas.
Depending on what approach the client has, what the client wants would determine which ‘sort of agency’ they would go with.
These are some of the Biggest Agencies and their different approaches: Creative Approaches and Styles Raymond Rubicam : ‘Resist the Usual’
The agency Y&R became an oasis for creative people based on Raymonds belief that full control should go to those creating the ads – artists and copywriters, with the ‘accounts people’ forbidden to revise. This was a revolutionary stance at the time. Y&R hired unconventional people who thrived in the open and friendly environment. Rubicam was committed to well crafted and visually attractive ads that sometimes used humour.
The Steinway Piano Ads that Rubicam created under the slogan “The instrument of the immortals’ saw sales soar by 70% Bill Bernach: ‘Execution’
Bill Bernach established the highly successful agency DDB (Doyle, Dane, Bernch in 1949. In contrast to David Ogilvy’s statement “what you say is more important than how you say it” – Bernach was more inclined to believe that it can be as important to focus on how you say it and his ethos is dominated by EXECUTION.
Bernach believed in simple, swift and penetrative copy. It should be fresh, original and imaginative … otherwise no-one would read it. He was more interested in good, honest copy than fluffy cliches.
DDB is responsible for the Avis ‘We Try Harder’ campaign … it acknowledges that it was second to Hertz – but indicated that because they were ‘second’ they would ‘try harder’… and this has a knock on effect to the employees who now had to live the philosophy. David Ogilvy: ‘The Brand Image’.
David Ogilvy of Ogilvy & Mather focuses on clear-cut brand image – mostly prestige image. He argues that there is no real difference in many product category and therefore the ‘personality’ of the brand is the only way to separate it off from the competitor. Ogilvy is famous for using testimonials and prestigious individuals to convey the desired brand image. Ogilvy is research oriented. Rosser Reeves – ‘The USP’
Rosser Reeves of the Ted Bates agency is very much a hard thinker. He believes in sales. He is not a fan of great copy that distracts from the real message. He believes that each product should have its own USP – Unique Selling Proposition:
- The proposition needs to involve a specific product benefit
- It must be unique – not one competing companies use
- It must sell.
Reeves uses research to support the product claim and believes that once a USP for a product has been found it should be used for as long as possible. Leo Burnett: ‘The Common Touch’
The Leo Burnett agency believes in the use of ‘ordinary’ people in advertising e.g. Marlboro cowboy …, which is in stark contrast to Ogilvy’s reliance on ‘celebrity profile’. He insists that ‘it has the common touch without being patronizing’- the key words are ‘warm and believable’. He also believes in finding the inherent drama in the product (why the manufacturer made it, why the people buy it) and then present this in a warm, realistic manner. Philip Dusenberry: ‘Entertainment and Emotion’ - Dusenberry has a heavy reliance on emotion and warmth with a high dose of entertainment that takes full advantage of all special effects available. A characteristic of his style is to ‘elevate people above the product’. Pepsi campaign and General Electric campaigns are two examples. This style has critics who believe it does little to promote the attributes of the product it is supposed to sell. Lee Clow: ‘Confidence’
His creative style argues for the need to generate confidence and to take the lead in sticking to an idea. Apple’s 1984 commercial was an idea that was very easy to get nervous about due to its unusual and provocative approach. Clow also believes in respecting the consumer’s intelligence and not use trickery and insults to get the message across. “Is it necessary to grind out the benefits of a soap or cake mix into a poor housewifes’s head by repeating them 37 times in 30 seconds?!” Al Ries and Jack Trout: ‘Positioning’
Although they were not ‘creative’ people, they contributed to advertising by promoting the concept of ‘positioning' – emphasizing a product’s place in the mind of the consumer. The idea which originated at GE (General Electric), emphasized naming a product memorably, then focusing on one specific selling point, similar to Rosser Reeves’s USP. Positioning was a way of simplifying the advertising task in an increasingly complicated market. CREATIVE APPEALS Creative appeals are the devices used by creative people to produce creative, successful advertising that will elicit the consumer response.The following are the more popular ones, but by no means a complete list: Rational and Emotional Creative Appeals
HIGH INVOLVEMENT / LOW INVOLVEMENT
Scientific / technical evidence
Slice of life
One should bear in mind that often a combination of rational and emotional appeals are used together. RATIONAL APPEALS Straight-sell or factual message:
Relies on the straightforward presentation of information concerning the product. It may list only one product claim, make a provocative or intriguing statement or provide a list of information (like a car ad). Often used in print ads – picture of the product with factual copy taking up the rest of the ad. In Television this works with the announcer delivering the sales message while the product is being shown. This format mainly used by high involvement consumer products and other business-to-business products. Scientific / technical evidence:
A variation of the straight sell / factual message … here the content is scientific or technical evidence; makes use of laboratory / scientific agencies as supportive evidence for claims made. Demonstration:
Makes use of actually using the visuals, often quite dramatically, to show the consumer how the product ‘actually’ works; can be a convincing ploy and one particularly successful within TV advertising. Testimonials:
Here a person convinces the consumer that the product really works by detailing their direct experience and success with the product. Ordinary people as well as celebrities may take the form of the testimonial delivery. The testimonial must be based on actual use and the spokesperson must be credible. People need to identify with the person, and believe that they actually do / did use the product. Often with celebrities, the consumer knows they are paid to say they use the product and so ironically the testimonial backfires. News:
News appeals are used best when a company has important news or information to communicate with its target market – a new product / a significant modification or improvement. Product Popularity:
Here the quality and value of the product / brand is pushed through its “numbers of consumers that have switched to the product” / “the brands leadership within the market”. The idea being stressed to the consumer is “why are they not then using it too?” Comparison:
Here comparison to competitors, reinforcing superiority is key. For smaller players they have nothing to lose by making comparisons to larger brands, but established brands have a great deal to lose by comparing themselves with minor competitors. Comparative advertising has become more popular in South Africa but is only allowed when general comparisons are made – brands may not be compared. Competitive advantage appeals and favourable price appeals are the most successfully used way of achieving this. EMOTIONAL APPEALS Here the emotion or psychology of the consumer is tapped into. The belief being that rational, information-based ads are dull whereas many advertisers believe that emotions work better when selling certain types of products. Fear:
Used in two ways. 1) Demonstrates the negative physical dangers of improper use e.g. drunk driving, life assurance etc. 2) where social rejection or disapproval is the focus e.g. anti-dandruff shampoos etc.
Fear appeal is effective when low to moderate levels are introduced. If too high the consumer is liable to ‘shut it out’ – claiming there is no real proof, it won’t happen to them. It may come across as an attack – and they then employ basic human instinct, which is defense. Humour:
Humour is used as an emotional appeal because it puts the receiver in a positive mood and as a result they are more likely to process the message with little cognitive effort. The problems with humour can be: 1) it distracts from the brand message 2) will the target market actually find it funny? 3) Humour has a short life. It’s not funny for long. Dramatisation:
This is particularly well suited to television. Dramatisation or exaggeration focuses on a narrative in which the product or service is the hero and often relies on the problem/ solution approach. The drama technique is not to use a typical situation but use more excitement … e.g. a car being driven on the roof of a high-rise building (Continental Tyres) with the slogan ‘German engineering where you need it most on a car’. Sex appeal:
Using sex appeal to sell a product is successful when linked to the correct product e.g. jewellery, clothes, perfume etc. but in the instant where it is unrelated and overdone e.g. cars, furniture, photocopiers - the sex is the star and not the brand. Animation:
Animation is used to overcome the boring factor. The prime target audience is children. Animation is successful because it can bring across complex products without being patronizing and animation techniques avoid stereotyping. Fantasy:
The use of fantasy, especially for television advertising has grown considerably. The receiver can engage in the distraction offered and become involved in the execution of the ad. If its enjoyable, it may be possible to affect the receivers attitudes towards the product. E.g. Those ‘boring grey men’ use Ego and get carried away by a bevy of beauties to a fun location. Slice of life:
... a widely used advertising format especially for packaged goods. The slice-of-life execution is generally based on a problem / solution approach. It usually parodies real problems that consumers deal with on a daily basis, with the product being the solution e.g. Omo washing powder removes stains. Can also be used by business-to-business marketers to show how their products / services can be a solution to business problems. A major criticism of the slice-of-life execution is that it often makes use of inappropriate stereotyping to portray the most likely user or buyer. Several other approaches that have become more noticeable recently include:
- Infomercials – informative commercials lasting up to 5 minutes (30 minutes for Verimark)
- Consumer Service – how the consumer can use the product or service to their own advantage
- Saving Through Use – how to save or reduce expense
- Self-Enhancement – brand will enhance / improve some quality of the consumer
- Corporate Citizenship – Ads portraying a company / corporation in a favourable light e.g.
affirmative action, conservation, crime prevention etc. CREATIVITY IN PRINT ADVERTISING A print advertisement is usually structured in the following manner:
Headline: promises of benefit
Sub-headline: spelling out the promise
Visual Element: artwork, illustration, logos etc. to visually present the message
Body Copy: amplification of the benefit, proof of claim, substantiation, action to take
Slogan: sums up the theme and promise. VERBAL ELEMENTS
(headline, sub-headline, body copy and slogan) HEADLINE:
The most important part of the Ad. It is the first thing read and therefore needs to be captivating and make the reader want to know more. Evidence suggests that over 80% will read the headline but not the copy. There are various types of headlines: Benefit Headlines:
Promise the audience that using the product will be rewarding; there will be a benefit. Should not be too cute or clever – simple statement about the products essential benefit. News / Information Headlines:
Announces news or provides information. News must be topical and the information believable. A razor shaves ‘200% smoother’ – is not believable. Provocative Headlines:
These arouse the readers curiosity – stimulate questions and thoughts. E.g. ‘Paul is 25. His legs are not.’ The body copy must be read to find out more. But there is no guarantee that the reader will go further. The image can be used to take the reader further. Question Headline:
Encourages the reader to find the answer in the body copy. A good question gets the readers curiosity up. If it asks a question the reader can answer, then the rest of the ad becomes redundant. E.g. Do you want to buy Insurance? No – and the turns the page! Command Headline:
Orders the reader to do something – readers pay attention especially if they focus on a specific target audience. E.g. ‘Oxecute them!’ (removes pimples fast, aims at teenagers). The Guideline for an Effective Headline:
Use short, simple words: not more than 10
Needs to captivate the interest of the prospect: primary product benefit, name of the brand and interesting-provoking idea.
Words should be selective and targeted at the prime prospect
An action verb should be included
The headline should have sufficient information for the reader to know what the product is and what its benefits are
There are of course many effective headlines which don’t subscribe to this guideline. CHECKLIST FOR EFFECTIVE HEADLINES:
Is the headline an attention-getter?
Will the headline draw target readers into the body copy?
Is the headline meaningful or too general?
Have clichés been avoided?
Does the headline contain words that will help select the target readers?
Is the headline brief, without sacrificing something meaningful?
Have the right words been used?
Short words are more concrete; long words more abstract
Is the headline positive? Avoid negative headlines.
Does the headline promise a benefit or reward? (Consumers buy primarily on benefit)
Is the headline too clever or too cute?
Is the headline coordinated with the other elements of the advertisement? THE SUB-HEADLINE:
A headline must say something important. If it is too long it can be broken up to include a sub-headline. This provides as a transition to the body copy.
e.g. Headline: Introducing new Omo Micro
Sub-headline: The strongest washing powder for the cleanest wash BODY COPY:
The body copy is used to amplify what was stated in the headline and sub-headline or to substantiate claims. The body copy consists further of different concepts. A lead-in paragraph, interior paragraphs, trial close and a closing paragraph. Lead-in Paragraph: The lead-in is part of the interest step. It must be engaging and be able to convert the prospects reading interest – to – interest in the BRAND.
Interior Paragraph: this is where credibility is developed. Through the use of testimonials, research data, warranties etc. proof of promise is obtained.
Trial Close: Interior paragraphs should contain suggestions to act NOW. Good copy asks for the action more than once. The trial close gives them the opportunity to make the buying decision early.
Close: The close is the action step. A good close asks consumers to do something and tells them how. The point is to make it easy for the audience to act. Direct Close: seeks immediate response in the form of a purchase, store visit etc.
Indirect Close: creates a favourable image of the brand; creates an empathy towards the brand, service or company. CHECKLIST FOR COPY:
Pictures and words work together to create impact and meaning
Write to someone you know who fits the target audience
Write the way people talk – this creates familiarity. Avoid ‘essay style’ and ‘strategy statements’.
Read the copy aloud and imagine saying it to a friend.
Advertising copy is developed as thoughts. Express in short, succinct expressions.
Use the present tense, active voice and simple sentence construction.
Short paragraphs are easier to read and are less intimidating.
Make use of ‘personal address' like “you”. It makes it specific to every reader.
Avoid the corporate “we”; it sounds pompous and indicates ‘brag-and-boast’ copy
Avoid formal, preachy tone. The reader should feel good and warm to the product. SLOGANS:
Slogans are often words or phrases that express an advertising idea in a condensed form. Sometimes a particularly good headline ends up as a slogan or it is based on the brand/ service position. Puns, metaphors, rhyme or alliteration have been used to spell out the advertising idea in the form of a slogan. CHECKLIST FOR WRITING SLOGANS:
Is the slogan connected with the brand / service’s major benefit?
Will the slogan cause curiosity on the part of the target reader?
Is the slogan a focusing point of the advertisement?
Slogans are best suited to corporations, convenience goods and impulse items and not a low-price item. VISUAL ELEMENTS
The visual elements are usually the illustration/s and the logo. For the most part, the illustration is the most important feature of the ad. Its aim is to create an immediate attention, strengthen the headline and body copy, communicate the relevant product benefit … things that may be difficult to express in words. There are a number of considerations within the image execution: should it carry the logo / identity mark; photo vs illustration; what choices of colour to use; most important: what should the focus be? OPTIONS FOR VISUAL FORM: The Product Alone: simplest form of illustration where it is literally just the product without background or location. This is best used when in fact the background could interfere with the command that the product demands e.g. expensive watch, high priced car … But there are not many of these exclusive products and therefore the background is critical as it describes relevance. The Product in Use: The most used visualization. Seeing the product in use stimulates the power of suggestion, as the viewer can identify with its benefits. Benefits from Product Use: This method features the positive results derived from product use. The idea is that the viewer will project themselves “into” the benefits. Testimonials are used to highlight the benefits. Dramatising Need: Potential customers may realize their need for a product when it has been visualized in a dramatic way. Showing Different Product Use: The illustration of a product being used can often dramatise multiple product uses. Often the customer is unaware of these variations or even at times the correct ways of using the product e.g. shake instead of stir, mix thoroughly instead of adding together etc. Featuring product details: A detail of the product may be dramatized by showing one part larger than the others; showing a cross section; using an unusual angle; print only parts in colour … this could be done to highlight a new improvement or a detail of its operation … Dramatisation of evidence: Effective illustrations can be created to support claims of factual evidence to counter the negative effect in advertising of unsupported claims … The Before-and-After technique: Often used to show product superiority. It gives a visual realization of the product benefit e.g. the removal of carbon from engine valves after using a brand of petrol … Dramatization of the Headline: The headline and the illustration are often related and the illustration can effectively strengthen the headline by communicating in a picture what the headline states in words. CHECKLIST FOR SELECTING AN ILLUSTRATION:
Does the illustration visualize the key idea or benefit of the brand / service?
Will the illustration successfully attract the readers attention?
Is the illustration simple and compelling?
Does the illustration reinforce the headline rather than compete with it?
Does the illustration have a single, meaningful focal point?
Is there good eye movement in the illustration or does it cause eyeball gymnastics?! Should the illustration be black / white, spot colour or full colour?
Should the product be shown in use?
Should the illustration show how to use the product?
Does the illustration show the pack? (The pack helps identify the brand on the grocery shelf)
Can the reader identify the user benefit in the illustration?
Does the humour create a positive and lasting impression? Should the illustration be a photograph or drawing?
Should the illustration show ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs?
Is the illustration credible?
Does the illustration create the desired brand, user and situation images?
Will the illustration motivate the target reader to use the product or to be favourably inclined towards it?
Is the logo too dominating or too small? DESIGN ELEMENTS:
Design deals with aspects of balance, harmony, emphasis, movement, proportion, contrast, continuity, unity, clarity/simplicity and the effective use of white space. There are no ready-made formulas to ensure that effective layouts are created, but there are some criteria that have proven to work. A standard layout will incorporate a dominating illustration occupying 60% - 70% of the total advertising space. Surveys show that if the body copy is more than 50 words long, readership drops and the headline should be 10% - 20% of the advertisement. BALANCE:
The optical centre is situated above and to the left of the exact or physical centre. Balance is the arrangement of the elements as they are positioned on the page and are either left or right and top or bottom of the optical centre. There are two kinds of balance: formal and informal. Formal Balance:
This refers to perfect symmetry and generally shows equal optical weighting through matched elements either side of the line dissecting the ad. This is used to strike a dignified, stable, conservative image. Informal Balance:
This is achieved by placing elements of different size, shape, intensity of colour or darkness at different distances from the optical centre. Most advertisements use informal balance as it makes the ad more interesting, imaginative and exciting. Harmony:
All elements in the layout must work together and not against each other. This helps the composition to appear pleasing to the eye and not disruptive. Emphasis:
This is about focusing or accenting a particular element e.g. the headline … to stress a point. If there is equal emphasis, then there is no emphasis at all. Movement:
The principle of design that causes the reader of an advertisement to read the material in the sequence desired is called movement. This can be achieved in numerous ways: Gaze Motion:
The placement of people or animals within the ad so that their eyes direct that of the viewer to the next important element. Mechanical Devices:
Use of pointing fingers, rectangles, arrows etc. to direct attention from element to element. In Television this is done by moving the actors or camera, or by changing the scene. Comic-strip sequence:
where a set narrative is used with captions to direct the reader.. Usually follows the format left – right and top- bottom. White space and colour:
Used to emphasise a block of type or an illustration. The eye will go from dark to light or from colour to non-colour. Natural Tendency:
is for readers to start at the top left corner of the page and proceed on a diagonal Z motion to the lower right. Size:
readers are attracted to the biggest and most dominant element on the page, and then to the smaller elements. PROPORTION:
Elements should be allocated space according to their importance. Using varying amounts of space for different elements also avoids monotony of equal space. CONTRAST:
Contrast refers to differences in colour, size, symbolism, time and sound in print or TV/ Cinema designs. Lots of contrast = busy and youthful design. Little contrast = conservative, no nonsense approach. An effective way of drawing attention is with the use of contrast in colour, size and style e.g. white letters on a dark background. CONTINUITY:
this refers to the relationship of one Ad to the rest of the campaign. Continuity is a distinct element that reoccurs to create a sense of continuity or “belonging” … can be used through the same jingle, spokesperson, a unique graphic element etc. UNITY:
This is the Ads bonding agent. Although the Ad is made up of different elements, they need to relate to each other to create a harmonious whole. Aside from the already discussed Balance, movement, proportion, contrast etc. there are many other techniques e.g.:
type styles from the same family
borders around the ads to hold them together
overlapping one picture or element over another
judicious use of white space
graphic tools such as boxes, arrows and tints CLARITY & SIMPLICITY:
This is about removing all unnecessary elements from the Ad to avoid clutter. Too much information results in a layout too complex to read. WHITE SPACE (isolation):
refers to the colour of the background space and may in fact not be white at all. This can be used to focus attention on an isolated element. This gives the image the artist wishes to create. Preparing for Layout: Different types of layouts represent different stages in the development of the ad. Initially the step-by-step layoauts may be prepared as follows: Rough Layouts:
drawings that are the actual size of the ad. All elements are presented more clearly to resemble the way the ad will look. The best of these will be chosen for the next step. Comprehensive Layouts:
Not so much used today because of the increased use of computer generated layouts. This layout model is used to indicate exactly how the final ad will appear and is also used for the client to sign off the job. Impact of Computers on Graphic Design:
Computers are used nowadays to do what was done manually before. An entire layout with images / text etc. can be viewed on screen and easily altered in minutes. Previously this would be much more labour and therefore time intensive and would not have nearly as much detail. Sophisticated software can be used for the entire process:
Layout: QuarkXPress, Adobe Indesign and Adobe Pagemaker;
Layout and Drawing: Macromedia Freehand and Adobe Illustrater;
Image Manipulation: Adobe Photoshop and Corel Photo-Paint.
Word Processing: Microsoft Word and WordPerfect.
Today’s graphic artists must be computer literate in addition to having a thorough knowledge of aesthetics, rendering and design. CREATIVITY IN TELEVISION ADVERTISING A TV commercial should be well written, simple, interesting, credible and entertaining. It must be stressed that a single idea should be communicated in the space of 10, 15, 20, 30 or even 60 seconds. Should be intriguing as well as intrusive to attract attention and create interest.
Uses motion and action to create impact
Uses stories to entertain and make a point
Demonstrations are persuasive on television because people believe what they see
Sight and sound should reinforce one another. CHECKLIST for Creating Effective TV Commercials
Begin at the Finish: concentrate on the final impression the commercial will make
Create an Attention-getting Opening: An opening that is visually surprising or full of action, drama, humour, or human interest sets the context and allows a smooth transition to the rest of the commercial.
Avoid distracting gimmicks. Make it easy for the viewer to identify with the viewer.
The characters must be appealing, believable and most of all relevant. They are the symbol of the product.
Keep it simple: easy to follow sequence – reduce number of elements to essentials
Write concise audio copy: The video should carry most of the weight. Fewer than 2 words per second for demonstrations is most effective; for 60 second ads 100 – 110 words is best. More than 170 words is “too talky”.
Make Demonstrations dramatic but BELIEVABLE: avoid camera trickery, should be true to life.
Use conversational talk and avoid ‘ad talk’, puffery and hype. Allow the words to interpret the picture
Scenes should not run less than 3 seconds; ideally run for 5-6 seconds. Offer a variety of movement-filled scenes without ‘jumping’.
Keep the video fresh and new. TYPES OF TV COMMERCIALS:
Similar to what we have discussed in Print Advertising – there are a number of different “types” of TV Commercials: Story-line: a commercial that tells a story
Problem Situation: the product is the solution to the problem posed to the viewer.
Chronology: Facts and figures are presented sequentially as they occurred and the message is delivered through a series of related scenes.
Special Effects: Ad becomes memorable through the use of some striking device e.g. unusual sound / pictorial technique
Testimonials: also called ‘word-of-mouth” advertising. Uses well-known figures (celebrity types) or typical consumers to provide product testimonials.
Satire: a commercial that uses sophisticated wit to make a point – often uses an exaggerated style
Spokesperson: use of an on-camera announcer to speak on behalf of the brand or advertiser Demonstration: uses some device to demonstrate a product’s effectiveness
Suspense: Makes use of curiosity and suspense - is dramatized in the story-line scenario
Slice of life: features a person discovering the answer to a problem – very much used by detergent manufacturers
Analogy: Uses an example to explain another by implication e.g. “Just as vitamins tone up your body, our oil tones up your engine” – implies that the product is like “vitamins for your car”.
Fantasy: uses special effects or animated characters to create fantasy surrounding the product or product use.
Personality: relies on an actor / actress to deliver the message. Actor plays a character that talks about the product, reacts to its use, shows enjoyment, recommends the product.
Direct Response: Hooking a specific target market audience with a strong lead, followed by a hard sell and close with a call to action PRODUCING THE TV COMMERCIAL
The production of a TV commercial runs involves 3 stages : pre-production, production and post production stages. The storyboard is evaluated internally by asking some basic questions:
Did you gasp when you saw it?
Do you wish you had thought of it?
Is it unique?
Does it fit the strategy to perfection?
Could it be used for thirty years (i.e. is it campaignable)? The Agency of Ogilvy and Mather fostered the “Do I smell a ROSE?” mnemonic
R = Relevant (Does it answer the problem set out in the brief and does it talk to the target audience?)
O = On strategy ( Does it answer the creative strategy)
S = Simple (Is it understood easily? All big ideas are simple)
E = Excellent (Is it a big idea – stunning, unusual, unique etc.) The TV commercial’s storyboard is pre-tested and now can be presented to the client. Once approved by the client, it can be pre-approved by the ACA Advisory Service (optional). The production house can now be selected. Quotes are obtained, the costing is done and the location is finalized. A pre-production meeting is organized with the agency, client, producer and director all in attendance. Clarity on various issues is made clear: timing, the cast, wardrobe, special effects, music, lighting etc. THE PRE-PRODUCTION CHECKLIST: • Is the commercial to be shot on film or video?
- Any possible problems arising from this?
- Is the commercial intended for cinemas as well? • Locations
- What is there to check on location (power, lighting, acoustics, transportation, distance, possible weather problems, alternative locations, necessary permission) • Insurance
- Cover against all eventualities • Props
- Details of interiors and sets (furniture, time of day,
- Provision for continuity • Casting
- Choice of people (age, height, colour, weight and voice)
- Any auditions necessary
- How will the cast be auditioned?
- Any stand-ins required?
- Model releases?
- Permission from Child Welfare when children are being
used in the commercial?
- Potential cruelty to animals?
- Check on previous exposure of proposed models?
- Ensure availability of models
- Language aspect • Animation (where applicable)
- Artwork examples
- Style generally • Styling
- Clothing of models, hairstyles, makeup, jewelry, etc. • Shot-by-shot analysis
- Shot-by-shot analysis of time allocated in relation to
the action required and the total time available
- Overall feel and pace of film
- Any need to show production company similar films? • Evaluation of proposed visual techniques:
- e.g. zooms, fades, mix dissolves, cuts etc.
- Discussion of opticals? • Sound track:
- Sync sound, voice-overs, music (library or original), post
sync, sound effects, voice dubbing to second language
- Any pre-recording required?
- Will sync lines be memorized
- Idiot boards required? (teleprompter) • Pack shots:
- Will pack work on TV in colour and B/W?
- Any special requirements?
- Provision of perfect pack specimen by client?
- Any product demonstrations and necessary supervision?
- Any additional props, artwork and background colours?
- Does special product have to be made? • Shooting dates:
- When is it being shot and if possible a timetable of the shoot
- Any stills required?
- Who will be responsible?
• Check on responsibility allocated in respect of all the above:
- Ensure clear understanding
- provisions for breaks, refreshments, etc.
- Any public relations required (notes of thanks, flowers for
helpful people?) • People at shoot:
- Who to be present at shoot?
- Who from the client?
- Who is to direct • Critical path:
- When and where to review rushes?
- When do we see the rough-cut or playback?
- Date of final edited commercial?
- Answer print?
- Screening to client for approval?
- Submission to SABC, M-Net and ASA (consider
early submission if advisable?)
- Number of prints or cassettes required?
- Final review and agreement of possible additional
costs to be incurred? The production stage is when the actual commercial is filmed or taped. The director has the responsibility of maintaining the personnel on the shoot, which could range from 15 – 400 people. In collaboration with a specialized crew he has to ensure that each shot is filmed as planned e.g correct lighting etc. and that actors / actresses give the required performances. The Director has to keep the energy on set at optimal level especially when time is tight and sometimes the shoot runs for several days. For a 30 second shoot it is quite permissible to have 2-3 hours of footage and at least 20 takes of each shot. The editor will screen through all and make the best selections later. STAGE 2: PRODUCTION STAGE 3: POST-PRODUCTION Once the commercial has been shot it must be edited, mixed and approved and prints must be made. Editing the footage is the critical stage. First step: the rough cut – the footage is very rough, the footage is jumpy, no colour correction has taken place etc. Once the agency has seen the rough-cut, suggestions are made at this stage as to how it could be possible to “make it better”. Step two: Further editing is done while the soundtrack is being recorded. Additional elements such as logo’s, slogans etc. are produced and added for the double-header stage. The picture sequence now matches the sound-track, no colour correction etc. has been done. At this point it is submitted to the client for approval. Step Three: The sound-mix is done to ensure sync and interlocking of voices, music and special effects. An optical print incorporating fades, dissolves etc. is then done and the answer print is produced. This is sent to the medium for final approval. Step Four: Colour correction and grading is then done and the final release print is produced for cinema or video transfer for the relevant TV channel (SABC, DSTV etc.) CREATIVITY IN RADIO ADVERTISING Radio is probably the most challenging medium from a creativity point of view because there are no visual and no print. It is here one minute and gone in another. Often people listening to the radio are also doing other things at the same time. Because of its intimacy, writers need to capitalize on this aspect. Visual images have to be created using voices, music and sound effects. It is a “theatre of the mind”… Ogilvy and Mather Agency offer 10 Rules for Effective Radio Commercials:
- Identify your sound effects: tell the listener what they are hearing and they’ll be more likely to hear it.
- Use music as a sound effect
- Build your commercial around a distinctive sound: e.g. The sound of a crisp new cracker or thunder to represent the power of a solid bank account …
- Give yourself time : Fight for 60 second spots.You need as much time as possible to establish your sound effects AND relate them to the product. 30 seconds is too short.
- Consider using no sound effects: A distinctive voice or a powerful spoken message can often be more effective than noises from a tape library.
- Beware of Comedy: It’s difficult to sit at a computer and match the skills of the best comedians. But a well written and relevant bit of humour can be a powerful advertising technique STAGE 1: Pre-Production Five Basic Principles for achieving audience acceptance (according to Wells):