Thinking Outside The Box or Lens

Published by: Andrew Paul    |   Category: Advertising, Blog, Email Ad Design, Email Marketing    


In marketing, we are constantly in pursuit of what makes a message or an idea “stick” in the marketplace. What is it that causes a consumer to not only look, but to be entrenched in the message of an advertisement plastered on a billboard, in a shopping mall, on your computer screen or in your morning read of the New York Times?

Let’s face it – we are all distracted in this action-packed, media dominated, technology-driven world we live in today. So how can we redirect the attention from the hustle and bustle of everyday life back on the featured content of our new promotion?

In an effort to discern what makes an advertisement “extraordinary,” let’s feast our eyes on Nikon’s new advertisement of its S60 camera that has the capability to detect up to 12 different faces in a scene.


What do you see? (You can click to enlarge the image.)

At first, you may be taken aback by what may seem like a provocative, even erotic scene of two young girls in nothing more than skimpy undergarments. Now, if you can ignore the obvious and take a closer look, do you see the individual faces in the windows of the apartment complex across the street? Beyond this, what about the young man behind the curtain? He’s not so easy to spot upon a fleeting glance, but realization of his existence in the ad truly conveys the product messaging in little to no words at all.

So why exactly has this ad gone viral and contributed to a steady sales stream? 

It’s no surprise that humans are visual creatures. Creating a visually-stimulating advertisement is perhaps the central theme in any marketing strategy. We see this with the rise of social media websites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram that rely on photo-sharing capabilities to appeal to a mass target audience. Advertisements that incorporate visual and interactive components often add life to the body copy, and the visual element is what often drives the user to read the copy in the first place.

With the Nikon advertisement, we are a witness to a marriage of visual stimulation and relevant product messaging. In marketing, you are selling way more than the product itself. Rather, you are selling a feeling and an emotional response driven by the purchase of the product. More exciting and arousing than a high-end digital camera is the “packaging” and strategic advertising that surround a well-made Nikon product. This product packaging is something that draws you in and makes you think a little bit. It tells a story without revealing the ending. It makes you cast your eyes on the advertisement time and time again, and leaves you wanting more so that you are never full or satiated.

The fact that a camera can detect up to 12 faces sounds pretty cool, but it’s not enough to communicate this product feature using boring copy. When Nikon advertises the camera’s functionality in an attention-grabbing and creative manner, suddenly the audience is listening. When this advertisement goes viral and is shared by like-minded individuals, Nikon will reap the benefits of free advertising, and the product will end up selling itself. It’s worth the initial investment in creativity in the ad when you consider how it can shape brand perception and generate engagement and memorability of your product offering for months or even years down the road. If you want to read more about the power of viral marketing, read “How to Get More Exposure Than a New Kim Kardashian Sex Tape.”

Let’s shift gears and discuss how this topic applies to one of the highest revenue-generating digital platforms available – email marketing. One of the most common mistakes that occur with any email marketing campaign is the lack of effort and investment into the creative process. Many clients will slap together a few images and a few copy points into what they attempt to call an email advertisement. When they achieve lackluster results at best, they blame the failure of their campaign on the email marking platform used for sending or the list that it was sent to. Rather, if proper attention and strategic thinking were involved in designing an effective email creative, the results would speak for themselves. An aesthetically pleasing, emotionally-gripping advertisement with an effective layout and deliberate call to action is the cornerstone of success in any email marketing campaign.

Go against the grain of traditional, “rational” advertising and aim to create something that strikes an emotional chord with the viewer. Whether your ad is humorous, scandalous, dramatic, or all of the above, it needs to generate a strong emotional response. Why? When it comes to decision-making, feelings and emotions overpower cognitive thinking. You don’t need to be a big company to make a strong, lasting impression.


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