I recently saw a blog post that asked the question “what makes an ad great?”
Many of the post’s comments talked specifically about how the art direction and production value is what separates great ads from the rest of the pack. Stopping power and entertainment value were also mentioned several times. I couldn’t disagree more.
The single attribute that makes an ad great – be it a multi-million dollar TV ad or a classified recruitment ad – is meeting or beating its stated objective.
For example, take an ad considered to be an all-time classic – Coca Cola’s “Mean Joe Green” ad from 1979. According to Sergio Zyman, former Coca Cola Chief Marketing Officer and author of “The End of Marketing As We Know It”, the ad was loved by everyone. Consumers loved it. Bottlers loved it. Critics loved it. It received many awards for its ad agency.
But Zyman didn’t care how much people loved the ad. He pulled it off the air because it wasn’t meeting its objective – it’s wasn’t selling Coca Cola.
If it wasn’t selling the product, it wasn’t a great ad.
Pretty pictures are nice and entertainment value is important, but if your ad doesn’t meet its objective – who cares.