What makes an ad campaign successful?

Creating an advertising campaign that resonates with its target audience is a challenge that marketers face today. Effective advertising grabs eyeballs while enticing the target audience to use the product or service. It also has the potential to persuade consumers to re-think an existing brand.

With the multi-channel scope of launching an ad campaign, marketers must ensure uniform core messaging in all forms of advertising. If the core message gets lost in the creative process, despite the ad’s popularity, it cannot be considered a success. A successful ad campaign must achieve its actual purpose, whether for a sales boost, product launch, or brand recall.

Here are some guidelines for making memorable ad campaigns that sell.

Studying the target audience

The first step towards launching an effective campaign is to know the target audience well. Researching the likes, dislikes, and habits of the targetted group can go a long way in understanding the messaging and the platform to be used for reaching out. Advertisers must realize that consumers can connect with ads that feature people like themselves or ideas that align with their day-to-day needs and aspirations. It is no surprise that brands like Cadbury’s, LG, and Dove come up with ads that echo the Indian middle-class desires and aspirations.

Setting goals and ensuring the ads are on-strategy

Accountability is essential for an ad campaign. While creating the campaign, marketers must define goals clearly. Measurements such as the number of views, engagements, sales, and attitude changes help understand how well the ad performs. These metrics also help in fine-tuning the ads for future campaigns.

Each KFC advertisement is on-strategy. The ads become effective instruments in driving in-store sales by aligning with KFC’s target audience and confirming their shifts and changes. Keeping in mind the customer’s needs and convenience, KFC has churned out many successful ad campaigns like the ‘Drive-thru’ advert during a strict covid lockdown in Ireland and the award-winning ‘7-minute express pick-up’ campaign in India. Tapping on the nuances of Bengali culture, KFC launched a successful “KFC Chicken Bucket” campaign. A similar strategy is evident in the “Cricket Hai, Let’s KFC” ad.

Importance of the novelty factor

Marketers unanimously agree that creative advertising is more memorable and increases brand advocacy. By keeping the customers intrigued with original creative ads, a brand can always enjoy being in the limelight. Brands like Nike, KFC, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Titan, Samsung, and Cadbury’s play their novelty cards well to keep the audience captivated.

It is essential to understand the various elements of the creative process in advertising – originality, flexibility, elaboration, synthesis, and artistic value – to ensure the effectiveness of creative advertisements.

Originality brings an element of surprise that blows up stereotypical thinking. Recently, Burger King came up with a ‘Jugaad’ ad that stunned the unsuspecting model, actor Hrithik Roshan, and the netizens. The said actor finally endorsed the ad, creating an even bigger buzz on social media. Result? The ‘₹50 stunner menu has gained popularity overnight.

Flexibility in a creative ad allows the ad to showcase a product or service with different uses. For instance, in the “The Future is Flexible” ad campaign by the property investment company NorthHill, a female dancer moves between various office locations. The ad compares her versatile dance moves with the flexible office spaces offered by the company.

Elaboration works in a creative ad for a product or an idea portrayed in a detailed or intricate manner, such as a detergent, innovative food item, or jewelry.

Synthesis of a creative ad means creatively merging two unrelated ideas or objects to highlight a product or service. A classic example is Vodafone’s pug ad launched in 2014 with the slogan “wherever you go, our network follows”. In the ad, the pug represents the Vodafone network.

Artistic value usually is necessary for ads promoting luxury products like perfumes, jewelry, chocolates, and watches. These ads showcase rich color palettes and appealing music and narratives.

Connecting with the customers with purpose-driven ads

Socially conscious ads are scoring big in today’s marketplace as these help the brand earn consumer trust while making a social impact statement. In the Mercedes Benz car advert “Awake – A moment more attention”, the carmaker has highlighted the dangers of drifting off to sleep while on the move. The purpose-driven ad effectively showcases the microsleep detection feature installed in select models of Mercedes-Benz EQS.

Driving brand message with value advertising

Today, companies have shifted focus from talking about themselves, instead, focusing on their customers’ wants and needs. The Burger King ads make bold statements around the whopper burger range of products reestablishing and modernizing its classic tagline “Have it your way”. The ads take the personalization of the products to the next level, adding value for customers. The youth-centric ads also target health-conscious consumers that want to choose what goes inside their bodies. The TVC ad showcasing the ₹50 stunner menu using a spinning wheel is both innovative and a classic example of value advertising.

Staying consistent and keeping it simple

Consistency in the messaging of an ad campaign can make or break it. Irrespective of the creativity and wow factor of the ad, inconsistent messaging creates ambiguity. Similarly, by keeping the message simple, the ad can strike the right chord with consumers that usually have a short attention span. The Kit Kat Slogan “Have a Break, Have a Kit Kat” is undoubtedly the oldest slogan that has remained consistent since its creation in 1957.

Hitting on competition – Pepsi ‘Halloween Ad’ analysis

Ad campaigns that directly hit on the competition can be tricky and easily fall prey to controversy. However, if the brand advocacy is strong, the marketer can still take the risk, choosing the occasion wisely. Wit is key to such a campaign. PepsiCo’s direct take on Coca-Cola with its hilarious Halloween ad in 2013 is one such instance. The company celebrated a scary Halloween by launching an ad cheekily displaying a Pepsi can with a red ‘Coca-Cola cape draped around it with the caption, “We wish you a scary Halloween!” A fan of Coca-Cola took on Pepsi by responding with the caption, “Everybody wants to be a hero!” Pepsi leaned on the positive emotions of the consumers during such a festive occasion and took a risk that paid off!


While there is no magic formula for creating a great ad, the success of creative advertisements depends on how the advertiser can break away from the best practices in the most innovative manner without denting the brand’s value and positioning.

Do you have any personal favorites that generate brand recall or have boosted the company’s sales? Please share your comments below.

Thank you for Reading!

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