Launching an advertising campaign that spurs word of mouth activity is no easy feat. Most of the TV ads seen running day after day are created with that exact goal in mind, but how many of those are actually memorable or worth talking about? Not many…
There are a few basic ingredients that can be used to create an advertising campaign that gets people talking. Not all of them have to be used in the same campaign, of course. Most of the time just focusing on one of them will be enough. Here they are:
Nothing sparks discussion as much as a little bit of controversy. It’s important, however, to remember that there are two distinct types of controversy: good and bad. The line between isn’t always obvious unfortunately, which is why it’s important to think twice and be extra careful when choosing this strategy.
This is a staple of TV and radio ads. Probably more than half of those are trying to create interest and spark word of mouth activity by being humorous. The problem is, humor is very difficult to get right when it’s combined with a commercial sales message. Most of the time it simply falls flat. When implemented correctly, however, this type of ad can have consumers remembering it for the rest of their lives. Maybe it’s not surprising that so many brands try this type of ad?
Here’s one that can be almost as effective as humoristic ads, but also one that is harder to define. A quirky ad is one where a viewer (or listener) asks themselves afterwards what it really was they saw (or heard). Get it right and they might even turn the volume up the next time it appears to try to make sense of it! Just as with controversial ads, there’s a slight risk of going overboard with this, although a quirky ad is usually much “safer” (but arguably not as potent).
Everyone has at least one ad they remember that they always HATED when it came on the TV or radio. However, chances are they still remember the company that ran the ad. Furthermore, they probably talked about it with their friends, creating brand awareness and fulfilling the purpose of the ad even if they hated it! It’s a bit sneaky, but there’s no doubt that it can be effective. As usual, it’s important not to go overboard and create something that actually repulses people. A slight annoyance is more than enough!
These were just a few examples of ads that create a lasting impression on consumers, and (hopefully) get them talking about the brand. If increased word of mouth activity is the goal, these types of ads are infinitely more effective than regular “Buy 2 get 3” types of ads. Since advertising is everywhere in our society, standing out and taking a unique position is becoming increasingly important. Companies that fail to realize this and adapt their advertising campaigns to modern standards that encourage word of mouth marketing risk falling behind.