8 Advertising Lessons From The World’s Biggest Brands March 3, 2015 0 comments For advertising to be effective it has to work on a number of levels. It must instantly connect with an audience, provide information clearly and quickly, deliver a call to action and, most importantly of all, be memorable. Quite a lot to fit onto one poster, banner or window cling! It can be done, though; as the world’s biggest brands have consistently down the years. The whole reason the biggest brands have earned the right to be proclaimed so is because of the strength of their advertising. If you’re looking to craft the perfect ad, there’s a lot that can be learned from the big boys. Here are eight advertising lessons that every brand can learn from. 1. Don’t try to be something you’re not Customers like honesty. They’re also pretty good and sniffing out when someone isn’t telling the truth and won’t be afraid to let you know you’ve been rumbled. Never try to sell your brand as something it isn’t. By telling people to “Think Small”, Doyle Dane & Bernbach’s campaign for Volkswagen not only became arguably the most famous advertisement of all-time, but changed how big car-loving Americans viewed the German brand. Americans thought VW’s were small, Volkswagen embraced it. 2. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it If you stumble upon something that works, stick with it. That’s what Absolut Vodka did back in 1981 when it created the longest running advertising campaign ever and transformed its unique, but bland bottle into one of the most recognisable in the world. By the time the campaign at the back end of the 2000s there were over 1,500 ads, all featuring the same bottle. 3. Get a tagline What do you think of when you hear the line “Just Do It”? What about “Have a Break…”? Brands and taglines go together like cookies and cream. If you can come up with a good one people will forever associate it with your brand. From Nike to Nestle to McDonalds, the biggest brands love a good tagline and you should too. 4. Be thankful for what you have Typically when creating an advertising campaign, particularly Point of Purchase, the idea is to attract new customers, but sometimes it also pays to be appreciative for what you already have. The California Milk Processor Board’s “got milk?” campaign was a worldwide success and spawned thousands of copycats, simply for reminding milk drinkers how great the product was. An indirect benefit of the campaign was, of course, a significant increase in new customers. 5. Digs at rivals are fair game Promoting your own brand by flagging up weaknesses in your nearest rivals is marketing 101. Politicians do this all the time, as do Asda and Tesco, Pepsi and Coke and countless others. The true master of advertising warfare, however, is Apple. The company’s “I am a Mac” campaign was created in response to Microsoft’s “I am a PC” campaign, which in itself was rebuttal of Apple’s original PC-defacing “Better” advertisement. Despite having run numerous successful marketing campaigns over the years, this has been perhaps the most successful for Apple, with marketing share growing by 42% in the ads’ first year. (Incidentally, Simpson Group – the printing company behind shop4pop.com – was responsible for some additional Snowman-inspired advertising for Asda!) 6. Simplicity is beauty Leonardo da Vinci once said, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” He was a man worth listening to. Sometimes a little says a lot. Take this advertisement by MTV for example. 7. Turn negatives into positives In a crisis, it’s better to confront the issue than to hide away and hope it blows over. Addressing a negative and making it a positive is a great way to restore trust and earn respect. Las Vegas did this to great effect after trying and spectacularly failing to promote itself as a family holiday destination; instead going with its “Sin City” tag and running the “What Happens Here, Stays Here” campaign. (Image credit: http://welovetypography.com) 8. A little fun never hurt anybody Injecting a little bit of humour into your ads typically works well in grabbing attention. Whether it’s laughing at yourself, your rival or simply being funny in general, people like to laugh and will appreciate your brand for helping them do so. This Business Insider article gathers 18 of the most hilarious ads ever for inspiration.