Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

More than half of viewers would skip an ad if they had a choice so is advertising still a viable option?

According to research conducted by Kantar Millward Brown 61% of consumers skip ads whenever they can and almost two-thirds of ads deliver an explicit product message, despite the fact that it is emotional relevance and creative engagement which are most critical to success.

Kantar Millward Brown’s reports states that when compared with ads that focus on a key message, ads with creative impact, driven by branded, emotional engagement, have a much clearer relationship with in-market sales effects. “Failing to get the key message across in ads is associated with a lower likelihood of a sales response – but this is dwarfed in comparison to the problems caused by failing to engage viewers,” says the report.

The best approach, said Natalie Botha, director of creative development, Africa & Middle East at Kantar Millward Brown, is to move beyond the message and to stop selling product features and instead focus on making a lasting impression.

Speaking at last week’s APEX Next Level of Thinking Masterclass, in partnership with Provantage, Botha discussed five key creative development principles that Kantar Millward Brown have identified to achieve lasting and memorable impressions.

The first principle is to make a meaningfully different impression. Too many ads try to tell consumers what the brand does instead of demonstrating the benefits to them as consumers. Functional differentiation is almost impossible to maintain. The most sustainable way to compete, said Botha, is to create an emotional, meaningful difference in purpose. 

The second principle is to work with the brain, rather than against it. “Most people feel something before they think,” points out Botha, adding that technical metaphors stunt our ability to connect with a brand. Ads which engage the consumer creatively and emotionally tend to be more effective because they’re working with the brain, not against it.

The third principle is that good storytelling leaves an impact. According to the report, storytelling is an opportunity for a brand to engage audiences, leave lasting memories and provoke emotional (and rational) responses. “People want stories and content to engage with,” said Botha, adding that despite this less than three in 10 ads tell a story.

The fourth principle is that no brand means no impression. “Branding is the single biggest predictor of sales,” said Botha, adding that without branding, even the most engaging ad won’t make an impression. She suggested that for digital video and short ads, it’s worth branding in the first five seconds. 

Getting the channel right with the right content at the right time is the final principle. To be successful brands need to have one more medium, she advised.

The big take-out: Kantar Millward Brown has identified the five key creative development principles to ensure advertising leaves a lasting and memorable impression.

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