Watching Kantar Millward Brown’s Best Liked Ads of 2017 and award-winning Cannes Lions adverts at the recent Madex/Markex expo, a couple of things stood out.
These were common elements that raised these adverts above the clutter, and made them memorable for and loved by consumers.
Solving societal issues
The common theme throughout most of the Cannes Lions ones wasthey all addressed solving societal issues. These included association with the Black Lives Matter movement, action against women abuse, combating discrimination, and providing communities with basic necessities.
Two points need to be stressed and remembered. Firstly, each of the associations was genuine; the brands didn’t force themselves into societal conversations for the sake of advertising. This can be risky because a brand’s reputation can be damaged immeasurably if they are seen as being insincere by simply shoving their advertising into important social conversations without actually caring about the cause.
Secondly, innovation was always top of mind. The solutions the brands came up with were mind-blowing. Boost Mobile turned its stores across America into voting stations due to marginalised voices in US society not having a place near enough to cast their vote. The campaign led to a 23% increase in voter turnout in Boost Mobile areas.
Tigo-Une transformed payphones in Colombian cities into banking options to address the high percentage of unbanked citizens in the country’s society, which was sitting at around eight million people.
My personal favourite though, was for washing powder Tide, which again showcased innovation and creativity when coming up with an advertising idea. Recognising the power and reach of the SuperBowl, the brand did a deal with football analyst, Terry Bradshaw, for him to wear a noticeable, big red stain on his white shirt during the pre-game build-up. This caused a social media storm, with users commenting on the stain. At half-time the brand’s advert played, revealing their connection with Bradshaw, and by the time it came to his post-game analysis, the stain was gone (removed by Tide washing powder).
Family and friends first
The Kantar Millard Brown Best Liked Ads of 2017 highlighted different common success factors than the Cannes Lions’ ones. The most obvious was an emphasis on family and friends, and sharing an experience with the brand and loved ones.
Relatable, everyday situations was also stressed as was a positive mind-set, including partying, celebrating and having a good time.
Fantastic storytelling with an unscripted, conversational vibe was also the order of the day.
A catchy, memorable song accompanied some of the adverts.
And finally, most of the adverts had hashtags attached to them, so consumers could continue the conversation online and through social media.
Keep it simple
So aside from the characteristics discussed above that make an advert successful with consumers, how can an advert and a brand’s content be promoted on social media in such a way that its reach is further enhanced?
Jacques du Bruyn, managing director of Flume Communications, advises brands to keep the content simple.
“The best ones consumers remember are the simplest stories … We’ve lost it as marketers, bringing messages across in a simple way, that’s easy to understand. We complicate them and add fluff,” he explains.
For him the three elements to take into consideration with a brand’s message are content, context, and channel, and he utilises the letters of story to remember the key characteristics:
S – Simple
T – Translatable, “make it easy so a person can tell the next person”
O – Original
R – Relatable
Y – You, “if you know your brand’s values and story and it’s relatable, you’re onto something,” he concludes.
Michael Bratt is a multimedia journalist at Wag the Dog, publishers of The Media Online and The Media. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelBratt8