Advertising – Creative Implementation

Appeals and Execution

Once the major selling idea has been agreed upon, the creative team will then turns its attention to determining the specific type of appeal and execution style that will be used to carry out the creative concept.

Marketing Communication Appeals

The marketing communication appeal refers to the basis or approach used in the advertisement to elicit some consumer response or to influence their feelings toward the product, service, or cause. At the broadest level, these approaches can be broken down into two categories or classes which are informational/rational appeals and emotional appeals.

1. Informational/rational appeals – these types of appeals focus on the consumer’s practical, functional or utilitarian need for the product (both goods and services) and/or specific reasons for owning a particular brand.  Examples of a number of product-related appeals that would fall under the category of rational appeals are discussed including:

Feature appeals

Competitive advantage appeals

Favorable pricing appeals

News appeals

Product popularity appeals

Emotional appeals

These types of appeals relate to consumers’ social and/or psychological needs for purchasing a product. Emotional appeals have become very popular in marketing communication as marketers recognise that many purchase decisions are made on the basis of feelings and emotions since rational, functional-based differentiation is often very difficult.

Another reason for using emotional appeals is to influence consumers’ interpretations of their product usage experience through the use of transformational marketing communication. This type of marketing communication creates feelings, images, meanings and beliefs about the product that may be activated when the consumer uses it and thus “transforms” their interpretation of the usage experience.

Combining rational and emotional appeals

Many purchase decisions are made on the basis of both rational and emotional motives. Thus rational and emotional appeals may be combined in the advertisement to attempt to influence both types of purchase motives.

Marketing Communication Execution

Creative execution refers to the manner in which an marketing communication appeal is carried out or presented. A particular marketing communication appeal can be executed in a variety of ways and a particular means of execution can be applied to a variety of marketing communication appeals. Some of the more commonly used execution techniques include:

Straight-sell or factual message – this type of execution relies on a straightforward presentation of information about the product or service such as specific attributes or benefits.

Scientific/technical evidence – a variation of the straight sell where scientific or technical evidence or information is presented in the ad to support a claim.

Demonstration – this type of execution is designed to illustrate the key advantages or benefits of a product by showing it in actual use or in some contrived or staged situation.

Comparison – this type of execution involves a direct or indirect comparison of a brand against the competition.

Testimonials – many advertisers present their marketing communication messages in the form of a testimonial whereby a person speak on behalf of the product based on his or her personal use of and/or experiences with it.

Slice of life – this type of execution is often based on a problem/solution type of format. The ad attempts to portray a real-life situation involving a problem, conflict or situation consumers may face in their daily lives. The ad then focuses on showing how the advertiser’s product can resolve the problem.

Animation – this technique used animated characters or scenes drawn by artists or on computer.

Personality symbol – this type of execution involves the use of a central character of personality symbol to deliver the marketing communication message and with which the product  can be identified. The personality symbol can take the form of a person who is used as a spokesperson, animated characters or even animals.

Fantasy – this type of appeal is often used for image marketing communication by showing an imaginary situation or illusion involving a consumer and the product.

Dramatisation – this execution technique creates a suspenseful situation or scenario in the form of a short story. Dramatisations often use the problem/solution approach as they show how the advertised brand can help resolve a problem.

Humour – humour can be used as the basis for an marketing communication appeal. However, humour can also be used as a way of executing the message and presenting other types of marketing communication appeals.

Combinations – many of these execution techniques can be combined in presenting an marketing communication message. For example, slice-of-life ads are often used to demonstrate a product or make brand comparisons.

Creative tactics

Once the creative approach, type of appeal, and execution style have been determined, attention turns to creating the actual advertisement. The design and production of an marketing communication message involves a number of activities such as writing copy, developing illustrations and other visual elements of the ad and bringing all of the pieces together in a finished product.

Creative tactics for print marketing communication – there are three basic components of a print ad including the headline, body copy, and the visual elements or illustrations. These elements are brought together through a layout.

Headlines – the headline refers to the words in the leading position of the advertisement – those that are likely to be read first or are positioned to draw the most attention. The most important function of a headline is to attract the readers attention and make them interested in the remainder of the marketing communication message. There are various types of headlines including:

Direct headlines

Indirect headlines

Subheads – many ads also contain a main headline and one or more secondary headlines or subheads. These subheads usually appear in a smaller type size than the main headline and are generally larger the type size used for the body copy. They are used to break-up or section off large amount of body copy and highlight key sales points in the ad.

Body copy – the main text portion of a print ad is referred to as the body copy. Body copy content depends on the type of marketing communication appeal and/or execution style being used.

Visual elements – another major component of a print ad is the visual elements or illustrations. Visual components often dominate print marketing communication an play a very important role in determining effectiveness.

Layout – a layout refers to the physical arrangement of the various parts of the ad including the headline, subheads, illustrations, body copy and any identifying marks.

Creative Tactics for Video

– As with print ads, video/television commercials have several components which must work together to create the right impact and communicate the advertiser’s message.

Video – the video or visual elements are what is seen on the  screen. Decisions have to be made regarding the main focus of the visual such as the product, the presenter, action sequences, lighting graphics, colour and other factors.

Audio – the audio portion of a commercial includes several elements such as voice, music and sound effects. Voices may be heard in several ways such as through the direct presentation of a spokesperson or as a dialogue or conversation among people in the commercial. A common method for presenting the audio portion of a commercial is through a voice-over whereby the message is delivered or action on the screen is narrated by the voice of an announcer who is not visible.

Music – a very important part of many television commercials is music which plays various roles and functions such as providing a pleasant background or helping create the appropriate mood or setting. Another important musical element in both television and radio commercials is jingles which are catchy songs about a product that usually carry the marketing communication theme and a simple message.

Brian Monger


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