The good, the sad and the ugly. This week we bring you tips on how to spice up your print, TV and direct campaigns.

Time to be judgemental

Does your ad have what it takes to be a winner? This six-letter mnemonic could hold the answer.

Andy Maher



4 minute read

I’ve never met a marketer who set out to make a bad ad. After all, great advertising gets fame, which in turn makes your ads both loved and more effective1.

But we’ve all seen a lot of average ads out in the wild. Partly, that’s because it’s so easy to lose sight of how to tell a good idea apart from a bad one.

So, to help you identify brilliant, attention-grabbing, and possibly award-winning work early and often, there's a handy mnemonic from The Advertising Concept Book2 you'll want to be using. I've found it pretty helpful in judging the quality of my own work. I think it'll help you too.
In short
  • Good creative can make an ad loved and boost the effectiveness of your advertising.
  • You know an ad is quality if it can make your target customer SLIPIT: Smile, laugh, inform, provoke, intrigue or think.
  • Before running an ad, question whether it will inspire one of those feelings in your target market.
The mnemonic is SLIPIT
SLIPIT stands for Smile, Laugh, Inform, Provoke, Intrigue and Think. Good ads do at least one of these things. Great ads do more than one.

To demonstrate, let’s look at some work.
These are those little grins you get. They don’t need to be big beaming grins, but if it makes you think ‘that’s clever’, you’re onto a great ad. Take a look at this Land Rover Defender ad and see if you can keep a straight face.

“Put simply, ads that get emotional responses get remembered."

Laughter is one of the best ways to get a customer to shut down their advertising filter and accept a message. This old ad for Mitsubishi’s Space Wagon is funny and gets the message across almost instantly.
Sometimes, just telling your customer something is enough. The Whopper is flame grilled, but sometimes it also grills the stores. An extraordinary story – and it tells the product’s proposition in an eye-catching way.
These are the ads that make you go ‘Ooft’. They might feel a bit full-on, even make you feel uncomfortable, but they always start conversations. You might find them too shocking. But then, if there wasn’t a poo machine in MONA, would you have heard about it?
A good intriguing ad puts something slightly out of place, or makes something seem odd with the intention of drawing the viewer in. These spots from Forbes pose a brilliant question about pay equality, with a quirky execution.
A good ad can pose a question, or answer one. This super spot gets pedestrians to think about the challenges of others, while making it clear that more can be done.
There’s a little more to it
Yes, an ad should always at least prompt one of these feelings. But there’s something more important to note. Every brand has a tone of voice, and your ads need to fit within its boundaries.

In other words, you need to be smart about the way your ad is having an effect on your customers' emotions. If it’s wrong for your brand, it’s just wrong.

Also, you have to remember that you’re probably actively wanting your ad to succeed. Everyone thinks their baby is a genius. But once it takes off into its adshell, inbox or YouTube pre-roll, most people will actively try to ignore, skip or delete it.

So don’t kid yourself. It needs to make you feel something in spite of yourself. It needs to be successful without you talking yourself into it being that way.
Once more with feeling
Much can be said for work that makes you and your target audience feel something. It doesn’t have to be one of the feelings listed here, but they’re a great place to start. Put simply, ads that get emotional responses get remembered.

Which means it will be more effective when it’s battling out there in the wildly-competitive world of advertising.

on Sadvertising
‘Sadveritising’ is transforming as the pandemic has made us more desperate than ever for some relief. Tear-jerkers like the Pedigree Shelter Dog3 are evolving. Now, ads are including a heavy dose of humour alongside the usual 'we’re in it together' messaging. Guinness4 and Extra5 prove that humour is selling better than ever.
Human feels in robot form
While Direct Marketing has been around for a long time, improvements in technology have given DM a new lease on life.

Chatbots are starting to pop up throughout social media, and it’s not surprising why. Currently there are over 100,000 chatbots populating Facebook Messenger collecting information, making product recommendations, taking orders and even donations. So, if your brand has a strong presence on Facebook, spice up your targeted social media ads with a Chatbot.
  1. Les Binet and Peter Field, The Long and the Short of It: Balancing Short and Long-Term Marketing Strategies (11 June 2013) Incorporated by Royal Charter.
  2. Pete Barry, The Advertising Concept Book (1 August 2018) Thames & Hudson.
  3. Matt Maxwell, Pedigree Dog Commercial – Shelter Dog (22 April 2010) Pedigree.
  4. GuinnessEurope, Guinness ‘Welcome Back’ – #LooksLikeGuinness (13 May 2021) Guinness.
  5. Extra Official, For When It’s Time | Extra Gum Advert (30 April 2021) Extra.
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