Why do some 40% of people in the U.S. block ads on their desktops?
I believe a big reason is that while ads may aim to say something new, often the ideas have been done before. Despite so much talk about the importance of creativity, it seems that many marketers think that if they go back to the well, that’s enough. It’s not.
Videos will get more traction if they avoid some of these common video ad clichés:
- Don’t use images that are shorthand for abstract ideas. How does a marketer visualize a concept like globalization or “the environment”? Most advertisers reach into a grab bag of visual cliches. As this video deftly summarizes, consumers are used to seeing images of farmers in China to symbolize globalization, people planting trees for the environment and stop-motion footage of cities at night for “efficiency” or “modernity.”
- Avoid stereotypes for demographic groups. Want to appeal to Millennials? Don’t show lots of young guys with beards and women with pink hair, dancing with VR headsets. And, please do not include a shot of someone playing a ukulele. Targeting older folks? Please stop featuring a white-haired couple relaxing on a beach.
- Never show stereotypes for professions. What images should be avoided in professional ads? For doctors, the guy with the white coat and stethoscope. For lawyers? The guy in a suit reading a law book. Startup founders? Don’t show a bunch of Millennials sitting around a desk.
- Stop with the genre-specific cliches. Travel ads in particular are known for showing sunny, sandy beaches but there are sunny, sandy beaches all over the world. While such ads might entice travelers to go to a beach, they don’t effectively illustrate that beach. Likewise, every car ad seems to include a shot of the new model riding on Highway 1 in California. Aren’t there other highways?
- Connect your music to your brand. Some advertisers, like Pepsi, like to include some of the hottest new songs out there in their ads. The problem is, no one associates the song with Pepsi, they associate the song with the artist. In order to connect with consumers, it’s key to make the music align with your brand’s objectives.
The Bottom Line
Video will continue to be a growing part of the marketing mix in 2018. For savvy marketers, the time is now to rethink their creative approach and avoid these cliches at all costs. It’s the only way to build a memorable, sustainable campaign that can make a real impact with your target audience.