How to Create Compeling Advertising

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Watch this ad:

and then watch this ad:

The former commercial focuses on the features. If you look at the signage in the commercial, it says things like 8MP Camera, Wifi Hotspot, Smartphone, HDMI, etc etc. It basically tells me what this phone is about but as far as appealing to me or striking a cord, it falls flat.

The latter commercial tells a story. The product (insurance) isn’t even shown in the commercial, only mentioned in passing at the end.

You can appeal to logic by listing all the things your product does and try to outdo the competition by doing more and more, or you can appeal to base emotions like anger, joy, happiness, love, hope, or in this case loss. I think the latter works better and is timeless. Imagine watching the Android commercial 5 years from now. Will you be impressed by 4G, HDMI, 8MP cameras? At the rate technology moves, probably no. The Thai insurance commercial is actually a very old commercial, but it has as much resonance today as it did when it first came out.

The iPhone Facetime commercial reminds me very much of this style of advertising:

Apple never tells you all the features the phone as. They just show you how it can change the way you share experiences with your loved ones.

Popularity: 7% [?]

Using Twitter to Promote an Event Last Minute + Results

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This evening I gave a talk for the Chicago Interactive Designers and Developers Meetup. I’ve been so busy lately that I did not think to promote it well in advance. As a result I didn’t get the word out about it until late in the afternoon today.

With tools like Twitter search and, I was able to track all the chatter leading up to it and as well as during the talk. I was so excited to see all this data that I felt like I had to share this experience for people who doubt the utility of Twitter.

3:00PM – I send out my first Tweet about my talk. Mind you my talk is at 6PM. A few moments later I send out another Tweet about it.

In about 2 hours, I count 10 tweets regarding the event, using a quick search for my name or the talk. I also track the amount of times that people click on the link to the talk page. By 5PM there are over 50 clicks to the page. At this point I’m pretty giddy. I’m no David Armano or Frank Ze so 10 tweets and 50 click-throughs is huge.

I wanted to see if people would tweet about the talk during the talk or afterwards. This was what I did to foster that. Once the talk begins I start off by telling people to use the hash tag #chiixdd (for Chicago Interactive Designers & Developers). Judi the organizer also tells people to use #cidd. On the front page of my presentation I also give my Twitter username.

A quick search on my name right after the talk yielded this – around 13 tweets.

Digging a little deeper I found other mentions:

What’s cool is Roundarch (the company that puts food on the table for me) got mentioned and so did Merapi, the Flash Java Bridge created by by Adam Flater, another Roundarcher.

Another interesting measure is to look at the number of followers that each person who tweeted your message has. Essentially that is the number of people who heard your message. I counted up all followers and it came to 4314. So the key in Twitter’s utility is other people spreading your message. If it was just up to me, only 629 people would hear my message but because other people have passed my message along, my reach has increased 4 fold in this instance. And I’m some super no name guy. Imagine if you had 20,000 followers and thousands of people who retweeted your message.

Did I also tell you is the bomb? Before if you pasted a link on Twitter, you’d have no way of knowing how many people clicked on that link if it wasn’t your own site. A quick look at the bitly page for the meetup page that I tweeted tells me over 100 people have clicked on the page at the time of this writing.

So for all you Twitter haters or people who think that there is no use to Twitter, think again. In a very short amount of time (3 hrs), a no name speaker such as myself is able to broaden his reach in getting people to know about his talk. About 70 people RSVPed and about 40 people showed up. I’m told that it’s a pretty decent turnout and that the ratio is usually about 50%.

If anyone has great Twitter stories, I’d love to hear them as well.

Popularity: 3% [?]

Touché, PC – Well Played.


Recently saw this commercial on TV and it totally kicked any Mac vs PC ad by Apple. This was a real demo of how easy it is to use a PC, not some skit talking about how a mac is better. The message: So easy even a 4 yr old can do it. She’s cute and Asian to boot. Go PC!

Popularity: 2% [?]

How To Make Ideas Stick

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For those of you who have not yet read the great book “Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die”, here’s a 10 second recap of the book. It’s a great book and I highly recommend studying it. However if you are just lazy and/or don’t have time – this quick presentation will give you a gist although it does not do it justice to say I’ve summed up the entire book in 10 simple slides.

Here’s the Amazon link:

Popularity: 4% [?]

Advertising Done Right

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I found some commercials that I think have the right ingredients of really great advertising. If you’ve read the book “Made to Stick – Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die” by Dan and Chip Heath, you’ll notice that the following commercials have many of the characteristics that make them “sticky”.

A little info on these commercials: They are part of a campaign to promote life insurance policies by “Thai Insurance”, one of the big Thai insurance companies. They are in Thai, but somebody has taken the time to add English subtitles to them. You’ll have to pardon the translation as it’s a little rough sometimes, but it gets the meaning and message across.

Apart from the fact that they are all really well done, I like the narrative style and the visual style. I don’t know if the impact of the message is lost in translation, but as a Thai, I was certainly moved by all of them. But let’s get back to what Chip and Dan think are elements of great ideas and how we see them in these commercials.

  1. Simplicity – each of the commercials is trying to convey one idea, not try to throw 10 things at you hoping one of them sticks
  2. Unexpected – I would say the last commercial was definitely unexpected
  3. Concrete – each of the 3 stories is a concrete idea that can be grasped, not some abstract thought or generalization
  4. Credibility – although I certainly wouldn’t want any of these to happen to me or anyone I know, we know it COULD happen.
  5. Emotional – ditto
  6. Stories – each one of these is a single story that can be easily told – hence transported

I hope that gives you some ideas on how to make your message “sticky”.

Popularity: 2% [?]

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