The ten commandments for effective advertising

Want to get more bang for your buck in tough times? Follow DDB director Les Binet's ten rules for more effective advertising, based on IPA Effectiveness winners, and watch your bottom line soar

Breaking the rules will make more money for clients, says DDB's Les Binet
Breaking the rules will make more money for clients, says DDB's Les Binet

1) Set clear and detailed objectives

Spend money wisely. Many ad campaigns have vague objectives, such as increasing brand awareness, image and attitude, but campaigns briefed in this way significantly underperform. The ones that work start with quantifiable business objectives that filter down to softer measures such as behavioural objectives. If you start by spelling out the hard business objectives, payback is increased four times.

2) Focus on profit

Think about what business effects your business can achieve. Most people think the job of advertising is to sell more stuff, so they focus on increasing sales volume, but in fact the most profitable campaigns are the ones that make people pay more for the same products. So sell people the same stuff at a higher price, rather than selling them more of the same.

3) Engage the whole market

Increasing brand loyalty has become the main goal for campaigns - but advertising has hardly any effect on brand loyalty, so campaigns that focus on existing customers massively underperform. Campaigns that focus on potential customers are three times more effective; the best marketing strategies talk to customers and non-customers as a whole - they embrace the whole market.

4) Touch the heart

The advertising and marketing community believes its job is to tell people things that will persuade them to buy products - but those rational messaging campaigns are the least effective. The best campaigns make people feel things about a brand - emotions are more profitable than messages. People don't want reasons to buy, they want emotional bonds.

5) Create ripples of influence

The most effective campaigns take emotional bonding to the next level - they create emotion and then share that feeling. Fame is more than brand awareness: for example, Apple is a cool brand over and above the technology category. Fame is emotion on steroids; when the brand becomes social currency, the financial payback is ramped up to another level. Be newsworthy, go viral, or do things that people talk about in the pub - go beyond the private sphere.

6) Lead with the right medium

If your aim is to create social media, then use media that can be shared. If you want to create an emotional bond, then use rich media. The new digital channels have tremendous potential - they have the power of audiovisual and are rich emotionally, but at the same time they have interaction and direct response. TV also stands out: the media community has slagged off television and said it is dead, but it has tremendous power to affect people emotionally.

7) Harness the power of integration

Convert fame and buzz into sales. Integration doubles effectiveness, so communications must make brands desirable while also pacifying the rational brain with reasons. Information-rich media = direct response.

8) Beware of using only one metric

Evaluation matters - you need a balanced score card for measurement. The campaigns that perform the best move all the measurement dials, whereas the campaigns that only shift one measure underperform.

9) Pre-testing is not the answer

Be sceptical about pre-testing - this can halve the effectiveness of your advertising.

10) Commit sufficient resources

There is a growing myth that with the new digital toys you don't need to spend much any more. This is not true. There is a fail-safe equation about the relationship between budget and growth that goes back to the 1960s: Growth Rate = Share of Voice minus Market Share divided by 10. So remember that share of voice is the key metric and keep spending money.

Les Binet, European director of DDB Matrix, was a speaker at this year's Media 360 conference. Click here for news and features coverage from the event.



Have your say...

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Media Week Jobs
Search for more media jobs


Gravity Road: new Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series 'exceeds' our 2013 Bafta win

Gravity Road: new Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series 'exceeds' our 2013 Bafta win

Bombay Sapphire has launched the second year of its 'Imagination Series' of five sponsored short films, after one from last year's series won a Bafta for Gravity Road in January.

Outdoor Campaign of the Month: Just Eat
[Sponsored feature]
Bauer launches daily football stats email The Equaliser

Bauer launches daily football stats email The Equaliser

Bauer Media has launched The Equaliser, a football-based daily email combining sports statistics and analysis, targeting desktop and mobile users.


Get news by email