Katie MacNichol

While reminiscing on the Super Bowl (or maybe just longing for the weekend), I thought about the creative choices brands make in commercials to connect with their audience. The brands score when they make you act – buy their product, schedule a service, call or email for more information or log in to register for a service. Whatever the action, successful ads make you want to do it immediately. Brands do this through creative choices that tell a story to connect with you on an emotional level.

Think about these examples:

  • What if Audi placed a middle-aged woman in the cart race to replace the little girl to make a stand for raising strong, valued women?
  • What if 84 Lumber chose a group of men versus a woman and child for their “Journey 84” spot?
  • What if Hyundai used a group of sorority sisters partying at the beach instead of the nation’s Warfighters stationed overseas connecting with their families?

The creative choices in an ad shape the story and tell you how to feel, making the message more impactful. In these instances in particular, the theme of people (those actually used in the commercial; the actors) made a direct correlation and emotional connection back to the audience.

For example, Hyundai’s ad used a theme central to making life better – showing soldiers being led into tents to put them “with” their family watching the game while their families were set up in the stadium with 360 degree cameras. It brought families together – making life better – by using actual families in the creative.

While the touching scenes do not sell cars directly, the commercial pushes the theme and Hyundai as a brand shows its focus on making life better too. They say “Hi, audience, come buy our brand” by connecting on an emotional level and weaving storytelling through advertising.

In an age of media oversaturation, it’s good to get to the point. But what makes you more apt to buy? A message that literally says “Go online and buy XYZ now!” or a more tactful ad that cries out to your needs – all the things you’re feeling inside that you want to trust a brand you’re going to invest in understands and feels too.

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The Super Bowl was a great time to see the impact of creative choices coming to life, especially how storytelling through advertising makes a difference to the audience. But, storytelling also matters in any form, whether print ads, brochures, websites, logos, etc. Brands are thinking more strategically about how they communicate to their audience, shaping creative decisions and call-to-action around reaching them at an emotional level.

We hope to see this trend continue, too, because it means brands pay attention to their consumer and care about them on a more personal level than just sales and profits.

And before I say “bye,” check out one of my other favorite Super Bowl ads – #BaiBaiBai. To be honest, I’m not completely sure who serves as Bai’s target audience but the creative choices in talent used here make me want to be their audience. Who’s thirsty?

Although it’s only a short drive from Baltimore, I only just recently experienced New York City. With everything my family and I crammed into one day, the NYC I expected with amazing advertising displaying the latest in trends across all industries didn’t disappoint. After all, we just used one of those flashy, awe-inspiring digital billboards in Times Square to promote a client initiative, so I understand the power of advertising in the Big Apple.

Still, I couldn’t help but wonder how Times Square’s advertising has evolved over the decades. Technology has driven much of the change, but Times Square has always been on the cutting edge. So, in a tribute to the big lights in the big city, let’s take a look back at advertising as it’s evolved over the decades!

Moving from small, black and white print advertising in the 1950s to color in the ‘80s and electronic, animated, eclectic imagery today, advertising delivery has certainly evolved over the years. It’s exciting to be on the front lines and developing new ways to use technology to communicate messages and promote brands for clients. I’m sure there will be bigger and better opportunities in 2011!