What is an Example of a Creative Strategy in Advertising?

Excellent marketing is essential to any successful business, and advertising plays a crucial role. The key to effective advertising is having a creative strategy that persuades your target audience and sets you apart from your competitors. In this article, we will discuss multiple examples of creative strategies and will detail how it can make a difference in the success of your marketing efforts.

What is a Creative Strategy?

A creative strategy refers to a marketer's plan or approach to communicate a thought-provoking message in an engaging or unique way. Developing a creative strategy for advertising involves using new and innovative ideas to capture the attention of potential customers and persuade them to take action. A well-executed creative strategy might appeal to a customers emotions, enhance a brands credibility, or confront them with a logical argument. This kind of campaign to build brand awareness and drive revenue might sound like a very modern concept, but it has roots in ancient Greece.

Incorporating Pathos, Ethos, and Logos into your Creative Strategy in Advertising

Believe it or not, advertising is tied to the ancient art of persuasion. Aristotle introduced the concepts of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in his work "Rhetoric" as the three modes of persuasion. He outlined them as essential elements for effective communication and argumentation. These concepts still play a crucial role in crafting messages that resonate deeply with audiences and can be seen at work in various creative strategies, driving the success of memorable ad campaigns. 

Developing a Creative Strategy in Advertising Using Pathos

You will find Pathos everywhere. Pathos, the emotional appeal, is masterfully employed in campaigns like the SPCA's ads featuring Sarah McLachlan. These ads create a lasting impact by evoking strong emotional responses, compelling viewers to take action. This strategy often leaves a lasting impression on the viewers. You may be like me and try to avoid these ads, or you may not, but you cannot deny their existence or their impact. The SPCA had over $250,000,000 in contributions, memberships, grants, and sponsorships in 2022. 

Another successful example is the Dove Real Beauty campaign, which used emotional storytelling to promote its message of self-love and acceptance. By featuring real women describing themselves to a forensic sketch artist, Dove created an emotional connection with its audience and promoted its brand as one that celebrates diversity and inner beauty.

Pathos and Storytelling

Some advertisers take this one step further and use storytelling to help customers visualize meeting their goals using your services or product. Everyone's favorite story is one about them, after all. Everyone is the hero of their own story, and we all love a happy ending. So, for example, an organization that offers physical therapy might use a storytelling technique to walk a customer through the recovery process by showing an actor dealing with pain on their own, learning about the service, making an appointment, going through the steps of physical therapy, and then be seen enjoying some physical activity they would typically enjoy in their leisure time. On the other hand, an environmental nonprofit may promote membership or donations by telling a visual story about a character who grew up loving nature and took steps to help protect it for the next generation.

Pathos and Humor

Of course, everyone's favorite example of a creative strategy in advertising is humor. Humor in advertising typically falls under the category of Pathos, as it aims to evoke positive emotions in the audience. By making people laugh, humor creates a sense of enjoyment and connection with the brand or product. This emotional response can make the advertisement more memorable and increase the likelihood of the audience associating positive feelings with the brand, which can ultimately influence their purchasing decisions. While humor primarily appeals to emotions, it can also enhance Ethos (credibility) by making the brand seem more relatable and human. In some cases, it can support Logos (logic) by simplifying complex ideas or highlighting the absurdity of a problem.

Using humor, advertisers can make their audience laugh and associate positive emotions with their brand or product. This makes the advertisement more memorable and can create a sense of likability, or at least memorability for the brand. Examples here range from State Farm's Bundle Mantra (feat. Patrick Mahomes), which features a clever joke and plays the actor's overreaction for laughs, to the Quiznos Sprongmonkeys, the bizarre yet entertaining proto-meme flash cartoon-inspired commercials that recently returned to a warm but puzzled reception after 20 (!) years. Like them or not, that's a long time to be in the public memory! And that’s the point.

Of course, you can and should simultaneously take advantage of more than one of these concepts. The State Farm ad above lists Patrick Mahomes in the title, and that's not an accident. This ad will be searched for on YouTube and other social sharing sites and found by people searching for football players on Google. The connection that State Farm makes by associating themselves with Patrick Mahomes is clearly quite valuable to them. And it's a great example of using the concept of Ethos.

Developing a Creative Strategy in Advertising Using Ethos

Ethos, or the appeal to credibility, is vital in establishing trust between a brand and its audience. For instance, Dove's Real Beauty campaign, which we discussed earlier, leverages Ethos by featuring real women rather than models, thus positioning the brand as authentic and relatable. This approach strengthens the brand's credibility and fosters a genuine connection with its audience.

Endorsements from industry experts or celebrities boost a brand's credibility. For example, Nike's partnerships with athletes like LeBron James or Serena Williams lend credibility to their products through association with respected figures in sports.

Ethos and Credibility 

The SPCA's campaign featuring Sarah McLachlan is a prime example of how credibility can be established through a sincere and heartfelt appeal. The SPCA enhances its credibility and trustworthiness by aligning the organization with a well-respected celebrity known for her compassion towards animals. This connection draws attention to the cause and encourages viewers to take the message seriously, leading to a significant increase in contributions and support for animal welfare.

Ethos and Expertise

Another method is to exude expertise by association. An environmental conservation organization might use it’s Annual Report to highlight the successful projects and partnerships with recognized scientific institutions to demonstrate its authority in the field. By providing evidence of its accomplishments and expertise, the organization establishes itself as a credible and reliable source, encouraging individuals to support its cause and trust in its ability to positively impact the environment.

Developing a Creative Strategy in Advertising Using Logos

Logos, or logical appeal, is evident in the strategic storytelling of ads like the physical therapy example mentioned earlier. By logically outlining the benefits of the service and the steps involved in the recovery process, the ad appeals to the audience's rational side, helping them visualize the practical value of the service.

Taking advantage of a powerful concept like Logos can help carry a message far, even with a small budget. A compelling creative strategy does not equate to massive spending on production and expensive campaigns. It is all about the idea and how it is executed. For example, the "Dumb Ways to Die" campaign by Metro Trains in Melbourne, Australia, successfully promoted train safety awareness through a humorous and creative approach. McCann Melbourne estimated that within two weeks, the campaign had garnered at least $50 million in global media value, along with over 700 media stories, all at a fraction of the cost of a single TV advertisement.

By illustrating the consequences of unsafe behaviors in a humorous (there's sneaky Pathos again!) yet precise manner, the campaign provides a logical argument for the importance of following safety guidelines. This approach engages the audience and drives home the message that safety is a serious matter, leading to a positive change in behavior.

Logos and Rational Appeal

Employing a logical appeal is critical in convincing an audience of a service's value. A physical therapy organization can take this approach by outlining the steps of the recovery process, from initial pain to successful rehabilitation. By presenting a clear and logical progression, the advertisement appeals to the audience's sense of reason, helping them understand the benefits of the service and how it can effectively address their needs.

Logos and Logical Arguments

An environmental nonprofit can effectively use logos by presenting logical arguments about the importance of conservation efforts. For instance, the organization might highlight the direct impact of climate change on specific ecosystems and how their initiatives are combating these effects. By providing scientific data and logical reasoning, the advertisement appeals to the audience's rational side, persuading them to support the cause based on sound environmental principles and the tangible benefits of their actions.

The Importance of a Creative Strategy in Advertising

Having a creative strategy in advertising is crucial for several reasons. First, it helps brands stand out by showcasing their uniqueness and creativity. This can be the key to capturing consumers' attention and differentiating yourself from other brands in a crowded market.

Moreover, a creative strategy can also help in building brand awareness. By creating memorable and impactful advertisements, brands can increase their visibility and stay top of mind for potential customers. This can increase brand recognition and recall when consumers make purchasing decisions.

By partnering with an innovative, creative agency, brands can also receive fresh and unique ideas to help them stay ahead of the curve in their advertising efforts. 

That's where Twothirty Media comes in! As a full-service Pittsburgh creative agency, we specialize in creating and executing effective and unique advertising strategies for our clients. Through our expertise in storytelling, design, and digital technology, we help brands connect with their target audience in meaningful ways that drive results.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your brand stand out with a creative strategy in advertising.

Will AI Replace Artists? The Future of Art and Design in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Recently, I stumbled upon something quite peculiar on a grocery site I often use. The recipe photos, at first glance ordinary, held some bizarre surprises. Lemons with egg yolks, bacon jam merging seamlessly with its jar, pastries exhibiting impossible Euclidean geometries, turkeys with extra legs, mutant strawberries, and bizarre, indecipherable alien scripts. These oddities confirmed my suspicion: the website has embraced AI-generated imagery.

As somebody who has friends, family, and colleagues who work as food photographers (a specialty I have a ton of interest in and respect for), this hurt to see. At the same time, I know that without some something like regulations, the temptation to shift towards cheaper alternatives is usually too great to ignore for most business owners. Traditional food photo shoots are expensive and can be logistically challenging, especially for recipe content that doesn't directly drive revenue, but thankfully for my friends in the biz, the AI results speak for themselves. And they are strange.

However, from what I can tell, it is certain that AI-generated images will improve significantly in time. This raises questions about the future of art in the digital domain. Art, and yes even food photography, has always been a medium for human expression, creativity, and emotion. Before now, we have exclusively celebrated the artist's unique perspective. But can AI replace artists?

Understanding AI in Art

Before we explore the potential of AI replacing artists, first we need to grasp what AI in art really means. Artificial Intelligence, in simple terms, is about computer systems doing things that typically require human brains – like learning, solving problems, and understanding languages. When applied to art, these systems can help generate entire creative works based on human prompts or assist artists with more minute details in their creative process.

AI-generated art involves algorithms that learn from an array of existing artwork to create something new. These algorithms analyze patterns, colors, shapes, and styles from potentially thousands or more pieces before generating their own unique pieces. This process is often referred to as machine learning or deep learning.

AI and the Future of Food Photography

In the context of food photography, in the United States we have regulations that mandate the use of edible items. For example, advertisers need to display actual food when depicting food for sale. No substitutes, everything shown as food must be edible. This has led to strange practices such as using mashed potatoes to stand in for iced cream, as they're more photogenic under hot studio lights. It's a fine line between making food look great and staying within legal boundaries.

Does AI's entry into this space complicate this? Since AI-generated images aren't bound by the same rules — they're creating representations, not photographs — we may see a legal and ethical debate unfold. Is AI food alright on packaging and commercials for products you can purchase? What about for recipes? What will we tolerate as a society? How does AI imagery even apply to our standards of realism and truth in advertising? It's certainly an area ripe for potential regulation and debate.

Photography Beyond the Reach of AI – Limitations and Drawbacks

While AI shows promise in specific photography niches, it's important to remember its limitations. For some audiences and users, there is no replacement for legitimate footage. Documentary photography, for instance, relies on capturing real, unscripted moments, interactions, and events. The news media, one would hope, would adopt some best practices on the ethical use of AI-generated visual content and not misrepresent the footage they present before regulation becomes necessary. The authenticity and storytelling power of a human behind the camera, witnessing and recording life as it unfolds, remains unparalleled by AI. I believe the human demand for authentic imagery will be what saves food photographers from AI replacing them in the long term in the same way it will preserve documentary film crews and news media. There will always be a market for authentic and documentary media.

While I am talking about limitations, I should mention that the reason I can feel fairly safe in displaying the “food” images above is due to perhaps the biggest current drawback with AI art – the courts have determined that an AI created image cannot be copyrighted under U.S. law, stating that creative works must have human authors to be copyrightable.

The Role of Human Creativity in Art and Design

Despite the impressive capabilities of artificial intelligence, it lacks one crucial element that every artist possesses – human emotion. Art is not merely about creating visually appealing pieces; it's also about conveying emotions, telling stories, and expressing individuality. These are aspects that an algorithm cannot replicate.

Human designers have the ability to understand cultural nuances, historical contexts, and personal experiences - all these elements contribute to their creative process. They can empathize with their audience and create designs that resonate on a deeper emotional level.

Furthermore, while AI can mimic styles based on data inputted into its system, it cannot innovate or think outside the box like a human designer can. It doesn't have personal experiences, intuition, or emotions to draw inspiration from, limiting its creative potential. It cannot understand its audience or the client. Humans are still needed for that. In the case of my online shopping service, a human could have certainly prevented the worst of the images from making it onto the website. Clearly, at least for now, the best practice should involve oversight over this content at an absolute minimum.

So Can AI Replace Artists?

While the advancements in AI have led to impressive feats in the worlds of art and media, the question remains: Can AI ever replace artists? To answer this, we need to consider what makes art truly 'art'.

Art involves making conscious decisions about what to create and how to create it. An artist's choices in terms of color, composition, texture, and form are influenced by their thoughts, feelings, experiences, and cultural background. AI doesn't possess these human qualities; it creates based on programmed algorithms. There is a case to be made that it is the thought process itself that makes art, and that making art is impossible without conscious thought.

Reluctant Adoption, But Not Replacement

So, will AI make artists obsolete? The answer is not as straightforward as it may seem. While AI is definitely shaking things up in the art and design world, it's not about to fully replace human designers. But there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle either; AI is already here.

At least when it comes to multimedia marketing, what's more likely than AI taking over your field is a future where more humans in your field use AI. By taking the best of what AI is good at – efficiency and crunching data – human artists will likely continue to do what they have been doing since the beginning – using art to express themselves.

The Future of AI in Art and Design

While it seems unlikely that AI will replace artists entirely in the foreseeable future, it certainly has a role to play in the evolution of art. AI can serve as a tool for artists to explore new creative avenues and push boundaries.

Moreover, the intersection of AI and art opens up exciting possibilities for interactive and immersive art experiences. Artists can create dynamic artworks that respond to viewers' movements or change over time using AI technologies.

In conclusion, while AI in art has made significant strides and offers exciting possibilities for creativity and innovation, it cannot replace the emotional depth, personal expression, and conscious decision-making inherent in human-created art. The unique perspective each artist brings to their work is irreplaceable by any algorithm. However, like it or not, AI will be a powerful tool in the hands of artists, helping them push the boundaries of creativity and explore new artistic horizons. Creativity, for now, remains a uniquely human trait. And while machines may mimic or assist us in creating art or designs, they cannot replace the human touch that makes each piece unique. So instead of asking "Will AI replace artists and designers?", perhaps we should be asking "How can legitimate artists effectively collaborate with AI?" The answer to this question will define the future of art and design.