Advertising That Works! Billboard Edition

McDonalds Oclock Ad

That’s right, folks! It’s McDonalds-o-clock! There’s a lot to love about Mickey D’s billboard. First off, it’s a working sundial. That’s pretty darn impressive, if you ask us! Second of all, it features images of all the delicious food that makes up America’s favorite fast food breakfast! And thirdly, we love that the images speak for themselves. The marketing geniuses at McDonalds know that the majority of people are familiar with their brand, so instead of using this billboard to share information with consumers (i.e. this is who we are, this is what we do) they simply use it to remind us that it’s (literally) time for a visit. The ad is a tad outdated of course (as we all know, McDonalds serves breakfast all day now!) but it also served to remind us the hours that breakfast was sold—so it was useful and unique!

Image courtesy of http://www.sliptalk.com
Image courtesy of http://www.sliptalk.com

We love this billboard for its simplicity and cleverness. Everyone knows what duct tape is and what it’s good for (pretty much everything), so what this ad does is suggest that 3M brand tape is better and stronger than many off-brand tapes (this, in my experience, is actually true). The ad is clean and simple, but also kind of fun—after all, that’s a giant roll of duct tape holding that sign in place!

image courtesy of world.kapook.com
image courtesy of world.kapook.com

Last but not least is this fantastic ad for Capisco hot sauce! While this Indian hot sauce brand is not as widely recognizable as McDonalds or 3M, the designers are still able to send a pithy message with nothing but an image. The bottle shape, color, and label make it clear that this is a hot sauce, and the hole that appears to be burned into the billboard (you can see right through it! We love the commitment here!) makes it clear that this is a HOT sauce. It’s clever, it’s clear—it’s all we could ever want in a billboard!

What are some of your favorite billboards? Send us recommendations in the comments, or on Pinterest or Twitter!

Advertising That Works! Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor”

This week’s “Advertising That Works!” is interactive—and tasty!

Lay’s latest campaign, “Do us a Flavor: Tastes of America,” takes foods from four different regions of the US, makes them into a potato chip flavor, and asks America to vote!

Lays 4 Flavors

The bags themselves are great advertising: they encourage consumers to vote on their favorite, which also makes them want to buy not just one bag of chips…but all four! Not only does this increase sales in the short term, but it also increases brand engagement by making consumers think about the flavors they’re eating. Even if a given chip-eater doesn’t love any of the flavors, they’re still likely to visit the voting site and express a preference—after all, it’s fun to vote!

Once a consumer actually goes to vote, they encounter a cute website that’s cleanly designed and simple to navigate. Not only do you get to vote, but you also have the opportunity to learn more about the featured flavors. Site visitors can “meet” the “real people” who suggested the flavor from their region!

Lays Meet the Finalists

Lays Meet A Finalist

They can also experiment with this interactive map that shows how each flavor is doing in each state.

Hilariously, the south HATES Biscuits & Gravy flavored chips—I assume that’s because we know what it’s supposed to taste like.
Hilariously, the south HATES Biscuits & Gravy flavored chips—I assume that’s because we know what it’s supposed to taste like.

After you vote you’re redirected to this page, encouraging you to vote as many times as you like, via Twitter, Text or Instagram.

Lays Vote Again

Genius! This gets consumers engaged on multiple social media platforms, and keeps them engaged for the entire campaign! They also get a chance to win $10,000!

There you have it: the Lay’s Do Us a Flavor campaign is fun, engaging—and tasty! That’s why they’re this week’s “Advertising That Works!” We even got in on the fun here at Hunter-McMain, Inc. Our votes were:

Gyro: 4

Rueben: 1

Truffle/Biscuits: 0

I guess we fit right in with the rest of Texas:

Lays Gyro Map

Advertising That Works: Sprint “Oxen” Commercial

Remember way back, long, long ago, when flip phones were all the rage? Then maybe you remember this commercial:

In it, a farmer is standing in his field, forlorn, surrounded by hundreds of wiener dogs. What’s the problem? Well, he says, “I ordered two hundred oxen…not two hundred dachshunds.”

As a somewhat too-late solution, he is offered a new Sprint cell phone, to keep his conversations clear from now on.

We think this ad works because it’s hilarious! Not only does it brilliantly get the point across (“clearer service is useful; we offer clear service”) it also resonates with consumers over a long period of time. Viewers are still sharing this commercial around social media, and although the particular deal advertised is (obviously) no longer available, it’s still great publicity for Sprint.

Feel-good marketing is popular, and ads that keep making people laugh will keep being relevant for far longer than ads that simply inform consumers of a deal. That’s why this Sprint ad is this week’s “Advertising That Works!”

 

Advertising that Works: Oreo Thins For the Win

Oreos, but…better for you? The same great taste, but…smaller? Brilliant!

At least that’s what the new Oreo Thins Ads would have us believe, and we think they’re doing a very convincing job.

Image courtesy of static.thefrisky.com.
Image courtesy of static.thefrisky.com.

The latest series of ads for the new Oreo Thins (a permanent addition to the Oreo cookie family) emphasizes a “sleek” and “clean” feel with few words and large, impactful images of the cookies–which look totally delicious, just smaller.

Image courtesy of delish.com.
Image courtesy of delish.com.

The way they emphasize how “thin” the cookies are in the ad designs play into a cultural interest in healthier eating, as well as the constant shift toward slimmer, sleeker products in the tech world. For instance, the ad above shares some similarities with this ad for the Apple iPad Mini:

Image courtesy of www.hightech-edge.com.
Image courtesy of http://www.hightech-edge.com.

The iPad is sexy, so Oreos are sexy, too! The Oreo Thin ad campaign is also making clever use of celebrity and social media–for instance, not long ago, actor and comedian Neil Patrick Harris sent out this tweet:

NPH Oreo Tweet

Accompanied by this charming Instagram post:

NPH Oreos instagram

If that doesn’t make you want Oreo Thins, I don’t know what will.

For these reasons, we have to officially declare the Oreo Thins campaign to be some Advertising that Seriously Works!

Oreo Has a History of Quality Ads…Check it Out:

Top 10 Things Designers Hate: Number 3

A simple but important part of any working relationship is respecting each other’s time. We think most people totally get that! But this particular issue still comes up every now and then, so this week, let’s talk about how much designers hate….

3) Last-Minute Changes

Image courtesy of http://www.zerouno.org.
Image courtesy of http://www.zerouno.org.

Every designer has had a client wait until at or after the deadline to request a color change, a text-rewrite, or even a complete overhaul of an ad. These last-minute changes are often accompanied by, “oh, it’s just a little change, it shouldn’t take you very long,” or the dreaded: “I need it by today.”

Of course, clients often don’t realize how long a given change is going to take. Something that seems simple, like replacing the copy, can actually be time-consuming because it requires the text to be sized and formatted to fit in the same space as the old copy. A change like, “could you just add a photograph?” isn’t a matter of just sticking something into the ad. A designer needs to find the right image, get the client’s approval, and make sure it’s the right size and resolution to look good with the rest of the ad. stop-the-press 2

Sometimes, as with ads printed in magazines or newspapers, there is a hard deadline for getting the ad to print. That can mean the designer has to work overtime to get the ad in on time. If you’re printing a brochure or a magazine and want to make a change when it’s already at press, you can end up wasting paper (oh no! the environment!) and you may be charged by the printer for the time they’re not able to use the press because of you! Nobody wants that!

All these last-minute changes can be avoided if you build your schedule with a little buffer-time—and stick to it! Then you’re happy, the designer’s happy, and look: this puppy is happy, too!

Image courtesy of idressmypets.com
Image courtesy of idressmypets.com

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Top 10 Things Designers Hate, Number 6: Speaking of Fonts…

Welcome back to our Blog series, “Top 10 Things Designers Hate!” We’ve covered ads with too much text, “Borrowed” images, reading the rate card and, most recently, the impact of fonts on your advertisement. It’s hard to over-emphasize how much fonts affect your ads. So, speaking of fonts, our number six thing designers hate is…

6) When You Don’t Embed Your Fonts

Imagine this familiar scenario: You have a font you want to use. You type up your copy in Microsoft Word, save it as a .docx document, and send it to your designer. Unfortunately, your designer doesn’t have that font on file, which means that when the document is opened on your designer’s computer, it defaults to some other font…like maybe Wingdings 3.

Wingdings: Cute on dogs. Not on your ad. Image courtesy of cafepress.com.
Wingdings: Cute on dogs. Not on your ad. Image courtesy of cafepress.com.

The formatting you worked so hard on is ruined, and your designer has no idea what you were trying to send. Time to start over.

All this trouble can be avoided by the simple process of embedding your fonts. What does that mean?

“Embedding” fonts means including the font you want to use as part of the document when you send it to your designer. This can be done quite simply: often, when saving ad document as a PDF you will be prompted to embed the fonts. That’s about as easy as it gets!

If this doesn’t happen (like if you’re using an older version of Word or Adobe Acrobat) you can follow these simple instructions here or here.

And voila! This simple process avoids confusion and keeps communicating with your designer clear and efficient. Everybody wins!

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Top 10 Things Designers Hate: Number 7

Welcome back to our blog series, “Top 10 Things Designers Hate!” If you haven’t already, definitely go check out our previous posts in this series, about “borrowed” images, rate cards, and ads with too much text! Today’s post will cover another topic that is near and dear to the hearts of many designers: Fonts.

Specifically,

7) You say, “Let’s use something fun, like Comic Sans!”

One of the most important things to know about design is that Comic Sans is not your friend. Nor are Papyrus, Times New Roman, or any other over-used fonts that can be found in Microsoft Word.

This is a good example of a poor font choice. The font is cutesy and fun, but the Harley-Davidson Riding Club should seem cool and tough! Image courtesy of  bonfx.com.
This is a good example of a poor font choice. The font is cutesy and fun, but the Harley-Davidson Riding Club should seem cool and tough! Image courtesy of bonfx.com.

Designers see fonts like this as a “lazy” design choice. Since they are so frequently used, they are perceived as all-purpose fonts. That means they are not going to provide that specific, individualized tone that you’re hoping to achieve with your ad. There are even websites devoted to pointing out bad uses of popular fonts.

Not that we don't love the funny papers! Image courtesy of listpod.net.
Image courtesy of listpod.net.

Your designer likely has a stockpile of hundreds of fonts that aren’t immediately recognizable by the average person. They will certainly have something with the feel you’re looking for, but with the added advantage that clients will not recognize it. That means that they’ll think of the font as unique, and associate it with your business—instead of with the Sunday funny-papers.

A great font can help send the message that you want to send, and tell your story, visually. Instead of asking for a specific font you already know about, try focusing on a general look and tone that you want for your ad! It may help to bring in examples of ads you like, and explain what about them works for you. With that information, your designer will be able to generate a design (with a font) that is perfect for you and your business.

This Kodak ad makes great use of typography! By using a font that evokes an old typewriter, they emphasize the comparison they’re making between pictures and words. Image courtesy of 1stwebdesigner.com.
This Kodak ad makes great use of typography! By using a font that evokes an old typewriter, they emphasize the comparison they’re making between pictures and words. Image courtesy of 1stwebdesigner.com.

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Top 10 Things Designers Hate: Number 10

Creating the perfect ad campaign for your business can be tough. You know what you want: an ad that stands out and lets potential clients in on the secret of what you already know—that you’re perfect for their needs! But how to go about making that ad a reality? Well, that’s a little more difficult. After all, you’re a businessperson, not a designer! It’s not your job to make the ad!

Unfortunately, without the right resources and vocabulary to talk about your design dreams, working with graphic designers can be frustrating—for them and for you!

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be exploring the top ten things that drive designers up a wall! Plus, we’ll be providing some tips on how to avoid these issues, and keep your advertising process simple and smooth. First up:

10) Too Much Text

Talk about too much text! There's so much going on in this ad that I don't know what to look at first. Not only am I not  going to read ALL of it, I probably won't read any of it. Image courtesy of http://adsulikeit.blogspot.com
Talk about too much text! There’s so much going on in this ad that I don’t know what to look at first. Not only am I not going to read ALL of it, I probably won’t read any of it. Image courtesy of http://adsulikeit.blogspot.com

You have a lot to say. There’s so much you want people to know about your business!

But sometimes, less is more. Your designer wants nothing more than to make you a beautiful, expressive ad, and cluttering up a pretty image with a bunch of information is usually not the way to achieve that end. Most of the time, minimizing text will maximize impact. Your clients don’t have to learn every single thing about your business in one ad—just enough to get them interested!

Instead of cramming every detail about your company into one ad, try to focus on generating a few simple, impactful phrases. Be sure that your ads easily lead to more information, whether that’s a web address or a phone number.

This ad by Bissel is a great example of Advertising that Works! The image is clean but expressive, and there's a minimum of text. Image courtesy of http://popurls.com
This ad by Bissel is a great example of Advertising that Works! The image is clean but expressive, and there’s a minimum of text. Image courtesy of http://popurls.com

Check out our Pinterest for examples of some beautiful ad designs that really work! And of course, be sure to check back with us later this week for number 9 on our list of “Top 10 Things Designers Hate.”

This Apple Commercial Makes Me Cry

Advertising that Works!

Have you seen Apple’s commercial titled “Misunderstood”? This TV commercial is like a novel without words. The scene is set during the holidays. You see a teenage boy going to a large family gathering. Throughout the commercial he looks like a loner, keeping to himself and busy on his iPhone during a time when he should be involved with the family. It looks, at first, like he doesn’t want to be there. The background music is to the solemn tune of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. In the end, the boy turns on the TV and you see he has been observing and filming the entire gathering. He has put together a video on his iPhone and replayed it for the family on Christmas morning.

Okay, watch it first and then tell me it doesn’t bring a tear of joy to your eye! No wonder Apple’s “Misunderstood” received an Emmy in 2014 for Outstanding Commercial.

Burt’s Bees

Advertising that Works!

The advertising team at Baldwin& has created a stellar campaign for Burt’s Bees®. Several ads feature their moisturizing lip balm with photos and illustrations. Headlines read, “Uncap Flavor.” Then they describe the flavor being uncapped. What we like about the ad is the simplicity of the design and the whimsy of the drawings. As we were admiring the print ads we discovered Burt’s Bees® TV commercial with all the photos and illustrations set to a delightful tune. You can watch it here.

Each Friday we like to highlight a featured advertisement or commercial that is creative, amuses us, and works in selling the product or service. Join us here every Friday for Advertising That Works!

BurtsBees