Making Ads Work

June 21, 2021

Making Ads Work

Ads. We love to hate them, and can't live without them. But what can we do to make them work for us?

Marketing is a numbers game from where we are sitting in 2021, but it would be naive of us to ignore the artistic necessities of advertising, a vital element in B2C marketing. Let’s look into what ad masters like Bernbach and Ogilvy had in mind to make advertising a useful tool for us all.

From his countless successful campaigns and his famous quote; “Advertising is fundamentally persuasion and persuasion happens to be not a science, but an art.", we know where Bernbach stands when it comes to ads.

According to Derrick Daye from Business Strategy Insider, “Bernbach’s 10 Principles of Advertising are;

1. Go to the essence of the product.

2. Make your product an actor, not a prop.

3. Art and copy must be fully integrated.

4. Advertising must have vitality.

5. It is useless to employ a gimmick in advertising – unless of course, the gimmick itself tells the story of the product.

6. Tell the truth.

7. Be relevant.

8. Be simple.

9. Safe ideas can kill you.

10.  Stand out. “


Let’s talk a little bit about how we can implement these principles into our advertisements.

To dive into the core, you can ask simple questions, like “What does my product do?”, “What is it good for?”, “How is it different from other products of its kind?” Keep in mind, your product should always be the star of the show both in the writing and in the visuals. Whatever the product is, it should have pizzazz. When telling the truth and being relevant and simple come into play, Ogilvy’s 10 tips on “How to Write” are also worth mentioning.

Ogilvy on "How to Write"

Ogilvy was a firm believer in clear, short, and direct communication. “Write the way you talk,” he said, emphasizing the importance of being natural. He continued with “Never write more than two pages on any subject.” If you need more than two pages to explain something, that should be your sign to go back to the drawing board and simplify your idea. Read it aloud, read it to someone else. Just by choosing the right set of words, and placing them in the right order, you can nearly create paradigm-shifting innovation. Read it aloud, read it to someone else to make sure it’s attractive.

Remember, if your advertising goes unnoticed, all your efforts go to waste.

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