Getting the attention of your audience with print advertising and graphic design can be difficult, but it’s even more so in 2020. It’s getting more and more difficult as consumers become more engrossed in other activities. This has completely shaped the way in which we advertise as businesses to consumers.
We have to be able to grab the attention of users within milliseconds of them seeing the advert. This has meant campaigns have become more powerful, as well as incredibly odd in some cases. So what makes the best performing adverts so popular? Below we’re breaking down the key elements of these creative campaigns.
Knowing Your Audience
It goes without saying, but knowing your audience is crucial. Before you even think about what you might like your campaign to be, you need to be completely aware of who your audience is and who of those you’re trying to target at that specific time. Audiences change dramatically for many brands, especially those whose audience is vast (such as food chains or retailers).
If you’re creating an advert that needs to reach the masses, it needs to relate to each and every one of them. In the last few months, many brands have been able to leverage the pandemic and lockdown for their advertising efforts. It’s also been a rare opportunity for brands to really evaluate their efforts, while offices have been closed.
Burger King, for example, this year advertised a mouldy Whopper. Why? All consumers need to eat and many will get fast food at some point in their lives. Knowing that ingredients are fresh and not pumped with additives/chemicals is essential to retaining consumer business.
McDonalds have spent a lot of time building trust in their ingredients through advertisements over the years, so to counter this Burger King decided that the best way to get the same message across was with a powerful and shocking image. The mould solidifies the freshness of their ingredients with no words needed.
Funny, Endearing and Surprising
Leveraging positive emotions is one of the biggest ingredients to top-performing adverts. They make you feel good in some way shape or form. Be that from nostalgia, laughter or shock; and there’s a good reason why they do this.
Leaning on these emotions helps with association. If you feel a certain way when seeing an advert, you’ll then inadvertently feel that way towards the brand. This then means that when the brand is mentioned, you subconsciously feel that positive emotion and are more likely to trust and recommend them to a friend or family member.
This year, for example, Cadbury’s released a new bar of chocolate called Darkmilk. Its tagline is “it’s a bit grown-up” and is aimed towards the more mature consumer. Their television advert was full of nostalgia, using 90’s pop stars such as Kim Wilde and Jason Donavan to get the message across.
It’s a great example of them knowing their audience, shifting their efforts towards older consumers and capturing their audience with those that were extremely popular during their time. It’s the perfect mix of nostalgia and surprise.
Making a Powerful Statement
Lastly, but certainly not least, we see a large rise in brands supporting or starting movements. These are real-world issues that all of us are affected by directly or indirectly. Be that issues about the environment, charity, immigration, sexuality or a political stance etc.
Big brands in 2020 need to show themselves to support or not support certain viewpoints to retain their consumer’s trust. Most recently we have seen the ‘Stop Hate For Profit’ campaign. Large companies around the world are boycotting Facebook Advertising for a period of time, due to the company’s allowance to speak of violence against BLM protestors.
Similarly, ice cream giants Ben & Jerrys have been running a campaign for those seeking asylum in the USA called “Waiting Isn’t Working”. As a brand, they have also raised concerns and supported causes for many years, with a specific page on their website outlining what they care about as a business.
But there are also campaigns that aim to educate, by making a powerful statement. In recent years we have worked with Essex University’s Student Union to create a campaign called “Shag Week” to highlight sexual health and encourage students to be more aware of it. We used very powerful, sexualised images to grab the attention of students and left a lasting impression.
Tops Campaigns in 2020:
Burger King – Onion Overkill and Colossal Crowns
Unsurprisingly, many well-performing campaigns in 2020 are in some way shape or form related to the pandemic. However, the creativity of some brands really does know no bounds. This is especially true for one of the largest fast-food chains.
Burger King, during lockdown, have created adverts for a ‘social distancing’ whopper (which is stuffed full of onions) alongside 2-meter diameter cardboard crowns to encourage those who were out and about (before the enforced lockdown) to keep apart.
BrewDog – Barnard Castle Eye Test
This campaign is a double-whammy in that it is related to both the pandemic itself and a strong political stance. This new beer, which genuinely does exist, was created in retaliation to the Health Secretary, Dominic Cummings, taking a trip to Barnard Castle during lockdown.
In short, the excuse given for the trip was that he was testing his eyesight. Or at least, this was one of the many excuses given. BrewDog seized this opportunity and created a beer to reflect the ridiculous nature of the so-called scandal, even describing it as a “Short-sighted beer for tall stories.”.
IKEA – How To Build a Fort/Wigwam/Cave
As we continued through lockdown, many retailers across the country (and the world) gave themselves time to be a little more creative with their advertising. As shops were shut, there was little point in advertising products, so IKEA came up with a new idea.
We’re all familiar with their black and white instruction manuals, so they leveraged this to create bogus manuals on how to create your own sofa fort, wigwam, cave or playhouse. This was a perfect way to encourage creativity in children and a way of keeping the kids entertained for parents.
McDonalds – Hungry Hungry Houses
This new campaign from McDonalds captures the lockdown, with the help of users’ imaginations. These are photographic images of ‘hungry’ houses – or put more simply, houses that look an awful lot like they have faces.
It’s something no doubt we’ve all done in our time, so it’s quite nice to see a brand also show their ‘silly’ creativity. The advert cleverly encourages you to use their delivery services in order to get your hands on their food, safely, during the pandemic.
If you would like to talk to us about our advertising and graphic design services then please do not hesitate to get in touch. We’re on hand to get you noticed.