What is an Example of a Creative Strategy in Advertising?

March 22, 2024

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.

Written by Randy

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