Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How Does Perfect Advertising Work... Anyone?

Come On! I'm Struggling Here.

I want to design the perfect advert, that sells to anyone and everyone, no matter where they come from, regardless of their history, ignoring their financial situation, and in spite of their objections... I think you get the idea.

Impossible? Pfft, where do I start? 

The product:
  • I need to be selling something that everybody needs, period
  • It has to work no matter their background, language, or culture
  • And I don't want there to be any price objections whatsoever
That's narrowed down the list. So all I need to do is work through this methodically, as I would any other advertisement. We always think about the benefits and features to make money, but what about the necessities? 

What does everybody need?

A car, computer, calculator, iPod, phone, pen and paper? This list could go on and on, but although they might be necessary items to you and I, a starving child in Africa has no use for any of it... well not until they've been helped with the basics.

So there's a clue, now it's becoming clear what I'm getting at. To be able to make the perfect advertisement, you need to appeal to every person, everywhere. 


Every person in the world needs it, from the rich aristocrat, to a long forgotten tribe in South America. But trying to sell expensive caviar to the tribe just isn't going to work. They have no money, probably no idea what it actually is and, perhaps more importantly, no need for caviar.

And Sir Such-and-Such, in his expensive mansion, probably has no desire to give up his caviar in return for a taste of the tribe's pet toilet pig.

No desire to own something makes my ad fall flat on its face. 


Good old H2O, the universal solvent. As vital as food, in fact more so you might say, but can I sell it? Thousands of companies already do. Natural, fresh, sparkling, mineral, enriched - they have it all. I buy it, occasionally, but only when I don't have access to clean tap water. Price puts me off buying something I can basically get for free - from my tap.

The poor souls that actually need clean drinking water generally rely on the goodwill of others to gain access to it. Yet our society buys a bottle for a few dollars, drinks a little, and then throws it in the back of the car until the realisation that it's "out of date", at which point the rest is tipped back into the ground. A sad world indeed. 

The Perfect Ad!
I'm really up against it now, 
but I won't admit defeat. 
The perfect ad is out there,
and it's going to be quite neat.

Has it clicked yet?

The only thing I can come up with for the perfect advert is fresh AIR.

My ad isn't going to have any words, so I won't have any background, language or culture objections. It'll be a simple drawing of a face.

Everybody needs it to survive, regardless. It'll have simple lines, inhaling through the nose, and exhaling from the mouth.

It's going to be FREE, because it's everywhere; and in this world, seemingly turned by money, that's almost as refreshing as the fresh air itself. It'll have a simple, outstretched hand offering it to you... for nothing.

So there you have it folks. 

  • What did you get from this article? 
  • Are you sorry you read it now? Be honest.
  • Or were you really expecting the definitive answer to every copywriter and advertiser's quest? The perfect ad.

I'm not sorry.

I'm hoping it made you think about other things too. The important things that mean something to everybody, everywhere. Think about these for a moment:
  1. If you've the ability to read this, consider yourself educated - because millions can't. 
  2. If you've the ability to buy food and water, consider yourself rich - because millions can't. 
  3. If you can do all this, and then help those that can't, consider yourself lucky - because millions can't.

Do something good today. Recycle something, give some spare cash to those that could actually benefit, or drink water from a tap today and give the money saved to a charity making clean water possible in other countries.

Thank you, Ben Vaughan.

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