Five rules of successful brand advertising

Ready For Bitter? Ad campaign for Campari UK by Spinach Branding

The world may have changed since the pioneer of modern advertising, David Ogilvy, wrote his seminal book Ogilvy on Advertising. Yet, despite the rise of social media and an altogether more complex web of communications, many of his guidelines still apply today. Here are our top five rules of brand advertising:

1.     Knowledge is key
Do your homework. Become intimate with the brand and the industry in which it operates. There simply are no shortcuts. The more knowledge you have, the better chance of creating an effective and enduring ad campaign. At Spinach Branding we begin all our projects by getting to know the industry intimately. Be it architecture, hospitality, retail or technology – our team at the London agency will thoroughly research the industry. Spinach will then run extensive workshops with our client to see how they operate within this context. The more you know about the industry, its strength and its weaknesses and all from a global perspective, the better chance you have of creating something unique and powerful. As Ogilvy would say, never underestimate the power of knowledge.

Campari 2020 advertising by Spinach Branding

2.     Position the brand effectively
Consider where the brand will work best and who is going to respond to it. Brand positioning is one of the most important aspects of advertising. It isn’t always obvious either – sometimes a brand may be targeted at a certain audience, but to get their attention it needs to be positioned at a different level. This increasingly extends to the choice of influencers or bloggers brought on-board to promote the brand. A relatively new concept in brand positioning, we often see companies work with influencers or celebrities who do not necessarily share the same brand values. The game may have altered, but Ogilvy’s classic rules still apply. Work only with those who share your values. Don’t get greedy.

Spinach created the Unilode brand

3.     Reflect brand identity
An advert is essentially selling the image of a brand. How it looks, talks and feels must reflect the overall brand positioning. It is the public-facing image, so everything must work in harmony from the typeface, to the image, the illustration, and the model or celebrity featured. Every little detail counts. To add to the complexity, today’s message must be understood globally, not be culturally exclusive or offensive. At Spinach we work with companies from around the world and it’s therefore instrumental to use words and image that resonate on an international level. For instance, tasked to create a new brand for an international aviation firm, since the logo appears on airport runways, our brand name, Unilode, works effectively on a global scale.

Knight Frank's advertising by Spinach

4.     Message wisely
Messaging is an extremely subtle art form. It involves short sharp text, or long factual copy. It all depends on the brand and its audience. For example, a recent campaign for the property consultants Knight Frank saw the brand messaging take pole position. We wanted the customer to be placed at the centre of the ad, so our ‘Move/Found’ campaign introduced the human factor to an otherwise cold industry. We followed the main poster ads with text-heavy campaigns placed in key positions on the underground. The campaign has been a big success for Knight Frank with competing property consultants since adapting a similar tone. We took a different approach when working with Campari on its on-going brand advertising campaign ‘Ready For Bitter?’. The initial brief was to raise brand awareness in the UK. We did so through a series of highly visual and memorable ads with one intriguing message. The campaign successfully defines Campari as an embodiment of cocktail and aperitivo culture, a symbol of the design capital Milan and of la dolce vita.

Campari UK advertising campaign by Spinach

5.     Big ideas sell
The world may have evolved greatly since ad man Ogilvy’s heyday, but one essence remains the same: A big idea almost always works. This is the hardest part of brand advertising as there are no rules here – it is down to the creative capabilities of the agency. Everyone can design a simple ad, yet coming up with one that will stand the test of time, one that becomes an icon in itself, is an entirely different proposition. Composing a big idea is an artistic process anchored in deep knowledge and background information. It really is down to the skills and creative powers of the ad agency.

To quote Ogilvy himself, ask yourself five questions:
‘Did it make me gasp when I first saw it?
Do I wish I had thought of this myself?
Is it unique?
Does it fit the strategy to perfection?
Could it be used for 30 years?’

Spinach Branding is a specialist branding agency based in London. We work with established businesses and start-ups around the world to build and refine their brands. See how we work and get in touch to discuss your brand.

Campari Instagram Adverts by Spinach
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