Create the “Where the Hell Did You Get That Idea” Ad

It’s fairly common to see an ad that has absolutely nothing to do with the product it’s supposed to be selling. Often referred to as “concept creative” or “high concept advertising” ads of this nature can fail miserably in two ways: an ad leaves the wrong impression about the product (such as a silly ad for a serious product) or the product is lost in the creativity of the ad. So why am I about to suggest you try it? Because when done right the results can be amazing and the process is a blast!

Sound like it’s over your head? It’s not and you can apply this technique to video, print, radio, or whatever! Here are a couple of great examples from the Google Mobile Blog:


These videos aren’t just memorable and entertaining; they also showcase new and different ways of looking at these gadgets, which is exactly how Google wants you to associate their mobile efforts. You can find more Google videos like this here: http://www.youtube.com/user/MobileTrix

Here’s a memorable way we showcased the slogan, “Accurate, Balanced, To the Point,” for a holiday promo:

Ok, here are some tips just to get you started:

  • First narrow down what you are selling. Notice the Google videos focus just on phones in simple surroundings and the holiday promo focuses on just 3 words. The simpler you make it, the more memorable the ad will be and the more your product will stand out.
  • Start with a long list of common metaphors, comparisons and relationships that are easily relatable to your product, but preferably not in the literal sense. For example a fire truck is obviously related to hot sauce. Keep it simple, make sure it’s obvious.

Once you’ve gotten to this point, you just need to avoid a couple pitfalls:

  • Pick an overall theme that’s appropriate for your product or brand. In other words, don’t get goofy with a serious product or try to shock the audience when selling a conservative product.
  • Be aware of your target audience’s age and make sure you’re age appropriate.

Test your concept! The best way to find out if you’re idea is “on target” is by rounding up potential customers and asking them, not by asking your immediate family and friends. I also highly recommend posting your ideas as discussions in LinkedIN groups and asking for feedback from peers & marketers.

Want a non-video example? Here’s an entire website built using “being in the doghouse” to connect to potential customers. Women can put their guy “in the doghouse” and suggest gifts that will get them out of the doghouse. Check it out at: http://bewareofthedoghouse.com

Here’s one of my all time favorite ads:

In this clever ad, a fight breaks out between the bear and a guy over salmon… you may ask yourself what does that have to do with John West brand and the answer is “it’s so good you do anything to get it” – a good reinforcement of their message.

At the end of the day only one thing matters and it’s the answer to this question: Did the audience remember your product?

Good luck!

If you are interested in clever ads I highly recommend visiting NowThatsaCoolIdea blog where I ran across the Doghouse website.

-Richard (@richardbouchez)

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