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Top 11 ads of 2019

My first article of 2020, no pressure right? During my break over christmas I wanted to get a head start on my new years resolution of writing more. So I thought I’d rank my top 11 ads of 2019, because why not? So here they are in no particular order. 1: Glenlivet – “Original by tradition” An ad I felt was somewhat overlooked last year but I really enjoyed. What I think made it stick with me was the fact they’ve taken a traditional idea, telling a brand’s story and history, but then combined it with fast stylized visuals and a tight script to create a fun, memorable ad. Well done to the minds behind it, proving you can take an idea that’s been done and still make it original. 2: Burger King “Burn that ad” Going from something more traditional to something completely outrageous, it’s Burger King’s AR campaign which captured not only the attention of burger buyers but also the whole advertising community. I don’t think anyone had seen anything like this before which makes it even better, by far one of the most original as well as edgy campaigns of 2019. 3: Argos – “The book of dreams” One of my favourite things about Christmas every year, other than the obvious, are the Christmas ads. It seems like every year agencies and brands aren’t just trying to beat the competition but also their own ads from last year. Argos really did it for me in 2019 with a funny idea, executed really well, and a classic soundtrack. What more could you want?  4: Starling Bank – “Start feeling good about money” Now some might say I’m biased for putting this on my list as we conceptualised and produced it but I genuinely love the look of this ad. Not only that but being part of the shoot I have a lot of memories attached to it. The one that sticks with me is carrying two 20kg camera batteries up a mountain to get one of the shots. Good times. 5: PlayStation – “PlayStation Now” Sometimes an idea for an ad is amazing, but it doesn’t happen because people say it can’t be done. Playstation made it happen. All your favourite video game characters falling from the sky, you have my attention, before landing in people’s homes showing how PlayStation Now can bring all these worlds right into your living room. This is just one of the ads playstation knocked out of the park last year. 6: Hinge – “The Dating App Designed to Be Deleted” I love this ad because it’s just such a great and relatable idea. Not only this but it can be shown in a very visual and funny way. It only takes one look in the comment section to see I’m not the only one who likes this ad with many people saying it’s the first ad they didn’t skip through. It also worked very well in print making this a very effective campaign as well as fun. 7: Lego – “Rebuild the world” This ad is fantastic for how it takes their product and combines it with the real world to create this completely unique place. I see things throughout this ad and feel instantly nostalgic, as I’m sure many people did, making it work through the generations. There’s definitely a je ne sais quoi to this ad. 8: Bosch – “Like a Bosch” This ad made me laugh out loud, on purpose, while learning the details of a product. Now that’s impressive. Taking what could have been made into a very run of the mill product film and turning into a great parody which not only is hilarious but also tells you all the ins and outs of their product. How cool is that? 9: Sipsmith Gin – “We make Gin not compromises” Imagine it, going into a pitch meeting and suggesting making a stop motion video of a quirky swan talking you through the Gin making process. Sometimes we have ideas that are so bizarre they just work. Like this one. A great looking video, a witty script, and it’s all coming from a swan? Sign me up. 10: Apple – “Airpods – Bounce” While this ad looks absolutely awesome, and does actually capture how it feels to wear Airpods (yes I really did just say that) what I think makes it so cool is the fact everything in the video are practical effects. Yes you heard me right, all of it was done in real life. 11: Renault – “30 years in the making” I absolutely loved this ad, it almost feels like its own short film. While a lot of the ads I liked this year were comedic, charming or visually stunning this is pure storytelling, filling it’s two minute run time with as many twists and turns as most features. I think it’s a great story, literally 30 years in the making. What I love about advertising is the same thing I love about films, books, and most things in life, it’s the fact that it’s subjective. An ad I love could be an ad you hate and vice versa. If you think something should have been on this list, or shouldn’t, let me know in the comments, I love explaining why people are wrong. Just kidding, I love a chat and I’d love to hear your opinions. Now let’s see what 2020 brings!

The things you should never do in advertising.

With new ideas and creatives coming into the industry all the time, advertising is constantly changing and evolving, It seems like the skys the limit, which in a sense it is (if you have the budget but that’s a topic for another time). However even with a deep well of ideas at an agency’s disposal there are still things you should never do it advertising. Sticks and stones Let’s start with a pretty obvious one. Don’t be insulting, don’t get me wrong I like a bit of cheeky humor in an ad but there’s a big difference between humor and insults. Whether that’s insulting your competitors, their customers, your customers or just any group of people. At the end of the day ads are trying to sell to you, maybe not directly but that’s the end goal so insulting or irritating your audience doesn’t seem like the best plan. Buy! Buy! Buuy! Don’t try a hard sell in your ads, now this one does not apply for every ad but let me explain. Everyone knows the buyer’s journey from finding out about your company all the way through to them buying your product or service, ads are usually telling people about your brand or having them recall it, starting to lead them along the journey to becoming a customer. But if you have a hard sell in your ad, and viewer’s never heard of you, it’s like you’re throwing them straight in the deep end instead of taking them on this journey. Also people just don’t really like getting sold too. Ramblers, let’s get rambling Tying in with my last point, don’t spend the entire video or print talking about the specifics of your products or services. Although this may seem strange, and I’ve had companies ask me why this is when they’ve wanted to go into the details of their product. Doing it is fine… in a product film, but for advertising it’s best to avoid. This is because you have no idea if the viewer is interested, the idea of advertising is to make them interested then let them get the details for themselves. Winging it Now one of the most important… not having a plan or strategy in place. Advertising’s usually not cheap and producing a great piece of content is a big step, but if no one sees this awesome content then there’s a problem. You’ve got to figure out who you want to see it and where you can have them see it. Whether that’s on LinkedIn, Youtube, Facebook or even OOH and TV. The great thing about advertising strategy today is with most mediums you can test something before you go through with it fully. This allows you to see if a strategy is worth investing in allowing you get the most return on investment possible. The obvious  Lastly, dont lie, once consumers lose trust in your brand winning that trust back is a long long road. Not to mention an expensive one. For instance we’ve all heard of shoes that can help you lose calories and tech that said it was half the price and double the speed of the competitor. Not only would this be very bad for your brand’s image but will also land you a big fine for false advertising. It all seems a lot more hassle than it’s worth. The antidote While I’ve mentioned the things you shouldn’t do in advertising, I haven’t touched on the things that you should do. Like be brave, creative, funny or serious and most importantly…tell a story. People remember stories, what made them laugh, what made them cry, what made them smile, and if someone remembers an ad long after it was made, isn’t that the point? Writer – Travis Usher – Creative Manager @ Ekstasy

Why is it harder to engage people on LinkedIn?

This is a question I’ve wondered for a while, well ever since I first posted to be honest. When you compare the number of views to the number of likes and comments per post it’s almost staggering, especially when you compare that to Facebook and Instagram ratios. This definitely isn’t due to a lack of LinkedIn users, it’s gained 123 million between 2016 – 2018 where as Twitter only gained 9 million users and Facebook even less than that. A theory I have is when you like or interact with a post on LinkedIn it will appear in your connections feed and let them know you liked or commented. Now LinkedIn is different from other social networks in the fact that it’s professional, as opposed to personal. Meaning all your professional connections, colleagues, leads, clients and bosses can see anything that you interact with. I think this is the reason why people who are happy to share their opinion and like content on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are a lot more hesitant and thoughtful with their LinkedIn accounts. So the funny dog video or silly meme that you might share with your friends on Instagram or Facebook you wouldn’t even like it on LinkedIn because you don’t want your professional network to see an unprofessional side to you. Let’s face it you don’t want your boss or clients to see half of the stuff you like on Instagram. Another theory could be that it seems that LinkedIn is like a science in itself. When researching this blog the amount of headlines I saw telling me how to improve engagement was almost overwhelming. One must account for the time of post, type of post, hashtags, network, locations and a whole range of other things as opposed to simply clicking post. For instance, Gary V has a strategy, called the $1.80 strategy, in which you search relevant hashtags to yourself and leave a thoughtful comment on the top 9 posts and do that 10 times. It gets its name from the expression of giving your 2 cents, as in doing this 90 times would add up to $1.80. What this does is allow you to borrow the posters audience, if they have thousands of followers and even a fraction of those followers see your comment, and this happens across all the posts you comment on. That’s a lot of people starting to know your name. It comes down to the argument of whether you need a strategy for LinkedIn. The answer is yes, unlike other social media it’s professional with a huge amount of noise and competition to cut through and even be noticed let alone liked or commented on. There are several strategies and tricks you can use to raise engagement, so to answer the original question, it’s harder because a strategy is almost always a necessity instead of a choice. If you’re getting lower engagement than you would like it might just be time to do some research and come up with a plan.

Are TV Ads still worth it?

That’s a debatable question, but you know what’s not? Advertising is everywhere. Literally everywhere, try to go from one place to another without getting sold to and I guarantee you can’t. What marketeers have to keep in mind is what is and isn’t avoidable for the consumer. For instance, a lot of OOH content is unavoidable, even if they’re not paying attention, they’re still absorbing it. However what can be avoided for a lot of people is TV ads, so the question arises, should brands still advertise on TV? The answer? Well, I don’t want to ruin the surprise just yet, so let me explain. I think every brand should advertise and produce content, no question about that, and doing it digitally can be done really well. It’s cheaper than TV advertising, more scalable and it’s easier to reach your target audience through digital than TV. As well as this when consumers are online the majority of the time they’re in the mind frame to interact which can be useful for ads with a CTA. However it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, you still need a solid strategy and content to really make a campaign work, adding to this there are thousands and thousands of ads online so cutting through the noise can be a challenge. This is where TV ads can shine, they can not only reach a diverse mass audience (71% of the population) which is awesome for a brand awareness campaign but people trust TV ads. To get an ad on TV it has to meet rules and regulations to make sure it’s suitable for the viewers, and people know this, which means the majority of people trust them. Compare this with online advertising where rules exist but are less strict than TV and you’ll see more people have their guard up. For this example, we’ll ignore the “As seen on TV” products. Also as digital advertising rises in popularity, one would think that TV’s effectiveness would diminish but that’s actually not the case. Looking at the graph below you can see that adding TV advertising to campaigns has actually risen in its effectiveness. As well as this, people spend more time watching television than they do on any other form of media. I don’t need to explain why this is great for brands but I will. If you have a huge audience you’re more likely to gain leads and get people to know you’re brand than if you were to advertise purely online or OOH because you have a larger audience. The more fish you have in a barrel, the more you’re going to hit (70% of TV advertising delivers profitable returns). Now I’ve spoken about how TV can be great for a brand to raise awareness and even generate leads but here’s the golden ticket. Using multiple channels in harmony (TV can increase the effectiveness of campaigns by up to 40%). With a solid strategy behind it campaigns across multiple channels can be twice as effective as opposed to using one channel. Doing this can also move buyers/leads along the buyer’s journey, making them more likely to respond to a CTA and more likely to think about buying your product or service. The analogy I’d use for this would be if someone asked you to build a table with only a hammer, it wouldn’t be very easy, but if someone gave you a whole toolbox it suddenly becomes a lot easier. At the end of the day, not every brand is in the position to advertise on TV but when putting together a marketing plan if it’s not even considered then you’re missing a trick. To answer the question, yes, it is worth it but should your brand use it? Like most things in life…it depends.
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