The 10 habits of highly effective ad creatives

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I really enjoyed this article about daily habits that creatives incorporate into their lives. People always ask me: “Do you ever get writer’s block?” and I tell them “Never.” I always have the opposite problem: there’s too much information flowing around inside my head! Why? Because I expose myself to everything. Anything and every inspires me. When you have a creative mind, you should be open to new ideas, experiences, people, places, situations, even when it’s awkward, embarrassing, uncomfortable, or a bit scary. This habit is my favorite:

3. Consume everything
“I immerse myself completely in knowing everything that’s been done in a genre when I’m working on something, to know where the boundaries are of what has and hasn’t been done,” said Jason Zada, film director. “I consume a lot of things — whether it’s movies, TV shows, articles, just a lot of media — it’s part of knowing what’s fresh or interesting or what hasn’t been done.”

 

Read More Here:

10 Habits of Highly Effective Creatives

 

 

Enough With the New Year’s Advertisments

Now that we are all back from our long, relaxing, alcohol-ridden, cookie-consuming, indulgent holiday break, we have to revert back to our daily routine. That means eating a well balanced diet, frequenting the overcrowded gym, and working on new projects. That also means boring.

Advertisers love seasonal campaigns. They jump at any and every opportunity to sell their product in a new way that corresponds with the time of year. The New Year is a time of self promise and hope for a better future. What better way to sell your products than jumping on the happiness and positivity bandwagon frame of mind? What advertisers don’t realize is that every retailer out there is putting out the same exact message. And its annoying. And redundant.

Below are sample e-blasts I have received over the last 24 hours. What ones do you find most intriguing, if any? My favorite was Meetup.com’s ad because it tells us to do something completely outrageous: break our resolutions. Quit my job?! Eat More?! Drink More?! Of course these are appealing choices. Meetup.com is catering to our vices, and our nature to want to socialize and continue the ephemeral holiday extravaganzas. This is how we as advertisers should be thinking. Give your audience something unexpected, novel, and entertaining. Stop copying the masses.

Can I Email You The Receipt?

Retailers are getting smarter.

Here I am, standing in line at Macy’s purchasing a cocktail dress for my friend’s birthday party in downtown San Diego. The cashier rings me up and asks me politely, “Would you like the receipt emailed to you, or in the bag?”

Next, I head to Urban Outfitters and buy a funky shirt dress, perfect happy hour attire. Again, the same words float through the retail air when the cashier completes my purchase: “Can I email you the receipt?”

A few days later, I am taking my French Bulldog Bleu to the VCA in Hillcrest for his annual shots. The vet techs want to know if they can email the receipt to me instead? And I think, sure, that way I have a record of his office visit.

Emailing receipts is Eco-friendly, but is it email friendly? For people like me who love to be inundated with frivolous eblasts from countless companies everyday, I don’t mind giving out my personal email. I like checking out different offers, looking at pretty pictures, and well-written copy.

But what about the consumers who are more private about their private email accounts? They don’t realize by forking over their email address to Macy’s that their inbox will be invaded with 20 percent off coupons, annual holiday sales, and more.

Good advertising practice, or bad?

How much more can I say about dog food?

As a follow up to our print ad assignment for class, our instructor had us build out a landing page, and eBlast, and a radio spot for a product we use every day. Here are my final copy components:

[Class Assignment: Landing Page]
Landing Page
[headline]
We’ve Got Your Dog’s Fine Dining Covered
[subhead]
Natural Balance L.I.D. Sweet Potato and Bison Dry Formula
What’s that mouth-watering aroma wafting through the kitchen air? Is it a casserole baking in the oven? Nope. It’s your dog’s dinner.
Tonight, let Fido feast on baked Bison and succulent Sweet Potato.
Not All Kibble is Created Equal
Responsible dog owners know that most dog foods contain fillers like corn that harm your pet’s health. Natural Balance kibble is made with two vital ingredients: bison, a rare farm-to-table protein source, and sweet potato, a root vegetable carbohydrate. Our kibble is scientifically formulated to provide all-natural, complete, and balanced nutrition for all stages of your pet’s life.
Treat Your Dog to a Healthy Dinner Tonight
[CLICK HERE] for a FREE SAMPLE
 [Sidebar]
Finally! A food for my finicky dogs. Now they have something to wag their tails about when its time to prepare their dinner.
-Tiffany D
Your food is amazing! It’s full of all the right ingredients and has great nutritional value.
– Andy Z
__________________________________________________________________________________
Class Assignment eBlast
[subject line]
Receive 50% off Natural Balance Products Today
[headline]
Doggy Indulgence Without the Guilt
[copy]
Now that Fido has feasted on our kibble, continue to pamper your pooch’s palette with other Natural Balance Bison & Sweet Potato flavored products:
  • Canned Wet Food
  • Premium Food Rolls
  • Jerky Bars
  • Biscuits
  • Bones
Receive 50% off Natural Balance treat products with your purchase of any Natural Balance Bison & Sweet Potato dry formula bag.
Redeem this offer now [click here]
__________________________________________________________________________________
 
Class Assignment – Radio Spot
:30
What’s your dog having for dinner tonight? Not all kibble is created equal. Skip the corn-filled doggy junk food and pamper your pooch’s palette with Natural Balance Sweet Potato and Bison, a limited ingredient diet that satisfies even the most finicky eaters. Let Fido feast on a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet formulated for all stages of your pet’s life. Give your dog something to wag his tail about. Go to: natural-balance-inc-dot-com today for your free sample.
[80 words]

Do Your Know Who is Sending Your eBlasts?

Before I started taking this promotional copywriting class, I didn’t scrutinize my company’s practice for sending out eblasts. Sure, I wrote catchy subject lines for our eblasts, but I never asked a crucial question: who is the email coming from? It’s important for the copywriter to know who the sender of the email is because it effects what your subject line should say.

For example, our marketing department did not supply me with the FROM information for a golf invitational registration confirmation, so I couldn’t tell whether to insert the entire name of the event or not into the subject line. When I found out that the sender was National University Golf Academy, I quickly figured out how to write the subject line: “You’re Confirmed for the February 11th Invitational Golf Tournament”
This seems like such as minor detail to focus on, but if you don’t have a logical and compelling subject line, then your emails won’t be opened. People happily delete hundreds of emails a day, so don’t let yours get lost in the trashbin.
Happy Email Writing
Mary

Dog Food Print Ad

Today is my first attempt at writing a print ad for dog food. My homework assignment was to create a print ad for a product I use every day. Anytime I can use my dog in my homework assignment, I am pretty stoked:

–>

Class Assignment: Print Ad
[headline]
What’s Your Dog Having for Dinner Tonight?
[copy]
At Natural Balance, your dog’s diet is important to us. Our Limited Ingredient Diet (L.I.D.) Sweet Potato and Bison dry formula provides high-quality nutrition for dogs with special dietary needs.
  • Grain-Free – say goodbye to Fido’s food allergies
  • Delicious flavor – picky eaters will lick the bowl clean
  • Easily digestible – no more sensitive stomachs
[photo idea]
a dog licking the bowl clean or licking his chops
[call to action]
To find a pet store near you, visit: www.naturalbalanceinc.com or call: (800) 829-4493.

Competitor Running Ads

Today, a coworker gave me Competitor magazine, a publication geared towards long-distance runners like myself who find pleasure in punishing themselves by clocking hundreds of miles for no apparent reason besides that runner’s high. I find athletic magazines a gold mine for advertising ideas because they all speak to the inner spirit of the athlete: their goals, their commitment, their determination, and above all, their competitive personalities. This demographic is very similar to my demographic: people who want to better themselves through education, rather than sport.

I think runners have a strange, compelling, intricate psychology. We like to be alone when we work out and running is a meditative state that calms and centers us.

Here are some cool ads from the magazine I liked:

Brooks does a great job at jumping on the barefoot running bandwagon with this ad “Feel More with Less.”


 I like how this ad taps into what I was talking about above, our sheer joy for running:

Chocolate Milk after a workout? This ad appeals to our sense of accomplishment after a long run. Why not treat ourselves to a little bit of heavenly sweetness?

And Finally, here is my ad. Nike Frees are not typically thought of as trail or mud running shoes. I also like showing a shoe that is not in perfect condition. The reality is that runners ruin their shoes!
My headline would read: “A little bit of mud never hurt anyone”

The Happiness Factor & Coca Cola

It seems that lately our society, and our advertisers, have become intrigued with the notion of “happiness.” How do we define it? How do we acquire it? How do we keep it? And most importantly, how do we promote that our product or service will make people drunk on serotonin and dopamine, the chemicals that are responsible for happiness?
Countless books have popped up on the New York Times best-seller list attempting to answer these questions: “Stumbling Upon Happiness,” by Daniel Gilbert,and both “The Happiness Project,” and “Happier at Home,” by Gretchen Rubin. They all promise greater happiness through better life choices. Personally, I don’t think you should turn “happiness” into a “project,” which makes it seem like a chore, rather than a naturally occurring thought, but that’s just me. However, if you are unhappy in your current life, you do have to put in some effort to change it.
Then came the advertisement: Coca Cola has built an entire campaign around the notion of happiness for years: “Open Happiness.”
A recent print ad read for Coca Cola read: “Happiness is BFFs.” 
This soft drink company promises us eternal happiness as long as close friends and sugary substances surround us. The creatives at least got the friendship part right. People who have strong social ties tend to be happier people. Americans and advertisers have become fascinated with the concept of happiness.
Then I watched a documentary called “Happiness,” and they featured a woman whose happiness was not a choice, it was an engrained feeling. Her face was run over by a car, and after the tragedy, she said she learned how to find more peace, serenity, and tranquility in her life. She said: “It’s weird to say this, but you could say I am happier now than I was before. I was always so driven, such an overachiever, but now I am more grounded, more centered, more content with myself.”
Doesn’t true happiness come from within? Let’s hope our target demographic never finds out…

Apple is Tipping the Tech-Life Balance

“When you think about your iPhone, it’s probably the product you use most in your life,” says a Senior Apple designer in their official iPhone 5 TV commerical launch.
 
 
Apple continues to capitalize on our society’s smart phone addiction by coming out with an upgraded iPhone every few months. We are obsessed with having the latest gadgets and afraid that if we don’t upgrade, we will be left behind with all the outdated, uncool iPhone “4ers.” The Apple commercial tells us that the “laws of physics are well, just guidelines.” Apple seems to be saying that by making their phone “bigger, yet smaller,” they have defied the laws of natures; their mobile device is somehow miraculous. What great advertising! Why? Because people keep buying them. 
 
Did you know that Apple stores make more money per square foot than the retailer Tiffanys? (source: Jeopardy!)
Apple has found a way to tip the tech-life balance in their favor. I get separation anxiety from my phone the same way I do with if my dog isn’t around. I need to know its accessible at all times, but why do I feel so strongly about a square interface?
 

Has our addiction to smartphones gotten in the way of our quality of life, our personal relationships? Or has the iPhone enhanced them?