4 Steps to Great Advertising

by Paul Clark - Published on 2/26/2010 3:26 PM

Recently I went through the process of creating a one-page handout for our sister company and the process that I used for the concept was unlike anything I have ever done before and I was very surprised by how well it all came together.

Because everything went so well, I thought that I'd share the creative process that I went through to come up with what I think is a very powerful ad.

1. Determining What Your Theme Is

First off, before I tried to get anyone else on the team involved, I had to determine what the theme of the handout was going to be. The theme has to be powerful enough and strike an emotional chord so that something will be absorbed by someone who only takes a quick glance at what is just a piece of paper. Your theme should strike a chord with a primary emotion. Things like:

  • Love
  • Fear
  • Joy
  • Sadness

For each primary emotion, there are many secondary and tertiary emotions that follow. Choose an emotion, follow the tree, and see what comes to your mind. Since my handout had to do with eCommerce Security, I felt that fear would be the main emotion, with nervousness and anxiety playing a factor. Since eCommerce security is constantly a problem, eCommerce shop owners are fearful that their customers data could be comprised - so my theme: the battle between eCommerce and the bad hacker guys.

2. Finding Inspiration for Artwork

With my theme selected, it was time to find some inspiration for the artwork that would be required for the handout. And what's the best place to go for inspiration for artwork? Google Image Search of course!

The idea here was for me to type in some keywords; battle, army, soldiers, protection, etc., and see what images came up to represent some of those keywords. Within a few minutes, I finally had an idea when nostalgia played a huge role after seeing an image of the little, plastic toy soldiers that I used to play with as a child.

Now I had to put some of the pieces together.

3. Creating the Headline

Since I knew what my theme was going to be - the battle for software to keep customers safe, and the inspiration for my artwork with the plastic toy soldiers, I had to come up with the headline that would get my theme and message across and allow me to use my plastic to soldiers.

Here I had to choose a powerful statement that would invoke fear: "Online Theft" - that's something to be fearful of. Now what can be said about online theft that suits my theme? I came up with that it is a tough battle, because it is an ongoing problem for eCommerce. But that's not all I could say. Saying "Online Theft is a tough battle" isn't enough to get someone to read the copy, so something else had to instill fear, and anxiety (a characteristic of fear) to the reader. I wanted to do this as a question: one being that questions make great headlines if the reader can connect with it, and two, it prompts an interest in how you plan to answer the question for the reader. I decided to go with "What's keeping your customers safe?", because there is a need for an online retailer to protect their customers to maintain that level of trust.

The final headline: "Online Theft is a tough battle. What's keeping your customer's safe?".

4. Creating the Artwork

This is the fun process - seeing how creative you can be. To make my artwork suit my headline and use my plastic toy soldiers, I thought it would be fun to stage a battle scene of the toy soldiers protecting a keyboard and warding off an evil predator. So we went to work. We got our toy soldiers and a camera and made our own little photo shoot; finding the best positioning of the soldiers and the best angle to shoot them at. It was a lot of fun and it was very rewarding when we finally nailed the right combination.

The End Result

Having the theme, headline and inspiration ahead of time made it really quick and simple to put the artwork together and the work on laying the headline, artwork and copy out the way we wanted it to.

Here is the end result, because I know that you are curious to see it.

And that is that. By using this new process, I think we nailed a great handout that will definitely get the attention of the recipients to read through it.

I hope you may find this process useful to start using for your next ad.

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Filed under: Roolosophy, Business life
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