As much of the work we do at E29 Marketing involves advertising, I asked the team to share their favorite ads and explain their reasons for being impressed. Consumers are inundated with ads, so the role as advertisers is to make captivating ads in order to capture attention and encourage ad and brand recall.
What makes an ad captivating?
Ben Parr’s book, Captivology is a wonderful resource describing the seven captivation triggers to capture immediate, short and long attention. The seven triggers are automaticity, framing, reputation, disruption, reward, reputation, mystery and acknowledgment. Let’s look at some captivating ads to illustrate each captivation trigger:
1. Starbucks: Afternoon Made at Starbucks
Megan says “My favorite ad right now is a Starbucks ad titled “Afternoons Made at Starbucks.” It’s REALLY visually captivating. I saw it on Hulu and I think it’s a great placement. Hulu is the only place where I see ads besides the occasional one on social (YouTube, Instagram or Facebook). Starbucks has been doing a push to get more people to there stores in the afternoons. I’ve gotten notifications through their app regarding their “Happy Hours” and it ties in really well with the ad I saw. On a side note, I believe they are testing serving alcohol so this could be a pre-test to see if they can get more people to visit in the afternoons/after work.”
Consider the audience who watches Hulu, which is predominantly females 18 – 34 and how much this audience appreciates cool, hip and well…sugar! This ad effectively makes use of the automaticity trigger with sensory cues of color and sound. Zooming in on the drinks and showing the swirling of ingredients together could is using the framing trigger. The viewer must imagine seeing each drink very close to their eyes, so that they imagine how it would feel to be drinking one.
2. OkCupid: DTF
This campaign while somewhat controversial, makes people think. Once you understand what DTF means and how it plays on the millennial favorites of “WTF?,” and “Down to F___” then you understand what it’s all about. I like ads that make me feel smart, so when I feel like I understand the ad after spending a little time to figure it out, I feel part of an elite who get it. This is good for brand building and makes use of the acknowledgment trigger by encouraging a deeper connection with the brand. Why? Because I feel validated and part of a community who use “WFT” and also understand the innuendo of “DTF.” OkCupid is changing the meaning in an empowering way and capturing our attention with captivating ads.
Take a look at AdWeek’s article about the campaign where the CMO says the DTF campaign boosted buzz by 50%. The campaign also uses the disruption trigger as it includes all types of relationships and for a dating app, it is very well targeted to daters of all sexual orientations.
And the results of the campaign tell all too: “In the crowded category of dating apps, OkCupid has rarely been one of the most high-profile options, but its recent “DTF” campaign seems to be working at changing that.”
3. Geico: Longest Goal Celebration Ever & 4. Old Spice: Talk to the Land
“My [Terra’s] household watched every single World Cup game. If we weren’t home to watch live, we recorded it and watched as soon as we got home. This was extremely different for our family as I can’t remember the last time I watched anything LIVE, let alone RECORD something to watch. We are die-hard HBO and Netflix fans.
This meant that I watched a boat-load of Fox TV (ugh) and real, live, TV ADS (gasp!)
There are two ads that stand out for me. No, they don’t have talking animals or babies (which I typically LOVE), but both are similar in the following ways:
- They make me laugh out loud even as I watched them for the 3rd and 4th time
- Each has nothing to do with the product being sold – or even really mention/show product benefits other than their taglines (gasp again…), no RTB, no POD, and, I’m not even sure there is a consumer insight?
- Both are PURE entertainment, and almost make their products feel irreverent. I didn’t feel like I was being “sold”, there wasn’t any fluffy marketing speak, just pure entertainment.
The first ad is Geico’s Longest Goal Celebration Ever, the robot at the end leaves me on the floor.
Why would he need deodorant spray when he’s going to crash? The whole thing is so absurd, it’s awesome.
My 10-year-old son asked me why we don’t have Geico and is Geico better than what we have? I told him that all insurance is the same. He said, “Well, why wouldn’t you want to save 15% or more on car insurance?” It’s a good question. My 12-year-old son asked my husband why he doesn’t buy Old Spice. Another good question. Net, net, even though I loved these ads, I will not change my insurance, or buy Old Spice for my husband.
This begs the question of the role of cable and network TV ads. I argue that yes, broad-scale awareness can be achieved, but ONLY if it’s entertaining. My next question won’t be confirmed for another 10+ years but… will my boys purchase Geico and Old Spice? Or, will they stick to boring old State Farm and Aussie Products?”
Thanks to Terra for her very entertaining perspective and accurate observations. The Geico ad also makes use of the acknowledgment trigger in that it was placed during live soccer games and who is more likely to appreciate goals and soccer idiosyncracies than soccer fans?
The Old Spice ad makes use of the disruption and mystery triggers. Disruption because the ad is so strange and unexpected and mystery, because it is a story and we watch in order to know the outcome. Mystery, uncertainty and suspense are very good at keeping an audience intrigued until the end.
5. Smove: Captivating Social Ads
You may have seen this one on Facebook or Instagram for the ultimate in selfie-sticks. The ad runs equally well whether sounds is on or off for the viewer as it has captions. What Smove is doing well is capturing attention with frequency and appealing to the audience who wants to look good on social networks. The special offer code makes use of the reward trigger and for the gadget-loving yuppie with disposable income, this lifestyle enhancing device looks like it could be a winner. The number of reactions and views of the video don’t hurt either.