No matter what medium you choose to advertise with, you have to fight an uphill battle. Your audience already swims through a flood of promotions and ads every time they go online and leave the house. They find promotions in their mailbox, on buildings and billboards, on their favorite websites, and in their favorite magazines.
With so many advertisements everywhere, you’d think that your clientele would purchase new things constantly. But even if they need the product, they may not respond to the ad. Why? Because they’ve seen a million advertisements, and the new ones don’t impress them.
To avoid boring your readers, you need to make your promotions stand out. Don’t do what everyone else does think outside the box. And if you don’t know how to start thinking outside the box, using the ideas below to get your creative juices flowing.
Nothing turns your audience off faster than a business whose overzealous promotion tactics remind them of a hoarder’s cramped storage unit. The inundation of information overwhelms them-they want to find information quickly and easily. So if you choose to use minimalism instead, not only will your ad stand out, but it’ll have a greater effect as well.
One German hat company called Hut Weber created an ad with two minimalists, with blank faces on it. The face on the left side only had the comb over and characteristically tiny mustache of Hitler. But the face on the right side had a bowler hat instead of the comb over, making the second blank face look more like Charlie Chaplin. And Hut Weber rounded out the advertisement with the tagline: “It’s the hat.”
Why Minimalism Works
This advertisement has one simple, very direct message: A hat from Hut Weber has the power to turn even the least pleasant person into someone sophisticated and respectable. The clientele internalizes the message instantly, and they recognize the message’s irony of course a hat doesn’t change who you are, but at least it improves people’s perception of you.
2. Optical Illusions
We work, shop, and advertise in the age of Photoshop. Every image has enhancements, but that doesn’t mean that your clientele always ignores these enhancements. Skinny models and unnaturally white teeth might not impress them, but optical illusions will.
One great example of this concept comes from a Whiskas ad. The original picture simply had a gazelle running across the savannah, but a clever advertisement expert using Photoshop placed a domestic house cat into the picture, making it look like it was hunting the gazelle. The tagline? “Feeding your cat’s instincts.”
Why Optical Illusions Work
This advertisement worked because it created a somewhat ridiculous and humorous illusion showing that this particular cat food brand puts real meat into their product. Cat owners who want to really take care of their cats should feed them as nature intended with real meat. And they can find that real meat in Whiskas cat food.
3. Shock and Awe
Many gripping advertisements appeal to humor, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use other emotions too. Some of the most effective advertisements use awe, shock, anger, and sadness. Try to avoid using emotions like fear and guilt while these emotions produce effective results, they won’t endear you to your audience, and they may alienate a large portion of it.
Environmental organizations, health organizations, insurance agencies, law firms, educational entities, and other life-shaping businesses use this tactic, and your small business can use it too.
For example, Reporters Without Borders released an advertisement with the tagline, “Censorship tells the wrong story.” The promotion features a picture of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. They are both facing each other smiling and it appears that Obama’s left hand is grabbing Clinton’s chest because his hand is blurred out. It is more likely that his hand is on her arm, but the ad tells a different story.
Why Shock and Awe Works
Reporters Without Borders created these advertisements to cause a very specific reaction: shock and confusion. Why would he pose for a picture grabbing her like that? The confusion quickly turns to anger, and that anger turns into action. People want to know the truth and showing them an example of a twisted perception generates a strong reaction.
Your business may not generate this kind of reaction, but you can easily use awe or shock to keep your clientele interested.
4. Unusual and Unique Designs
Your audience may also ignore ads and promotions because they look and feel like every other advertisement. They occupy the same kind of rectangular space, they come on the same kind of paper, and they all come in 2D. Add interest to your ads with cutouts, pop-outs, and creative shapes.
James A.W. Mahon, a divorce lawyer, created business cards with perforations down the middle, which gave his potential clients the option to split them in half. Both halves had the lawyer’s contact information.
Why Unusual Designs Work
Pop-outs, cutouts, perforations, and unique shapes stand out visually, but they also allow your clientele to interact with the print promotion. Interactions keep them interested longer, and they help the potential customer remember your name.
In this case, the lawyer made his business cards into a visual symbol of effective separation. His potential clients can vent a little frustration by tearing his card in half, then hand the other half to their estranged spouse. So if you can find a way to visually represent the purpose of your business, make promotions out of that representation.
If you want your business’s ads to stand out, you’ll need a little creativity. And if you don’t have experts on your team who specialize in creative advertising, don’t worry-you can always hire another company to do it for you. In the meantime, use these tips to get you started.