Ideas That Click.

It’s a busy advertising world out there. As Forbes reports, the average person sees between 4,000 and 10,000 ads per day1. For comparison, back in the 70s, it was more like 500 per day2.

You need to get the word out about your business and stay top-of-mind. But how do you do that when there’s so much noise in the marketplace? How can you stand out and get noticed?

Since we first opened our doors in 1984, we’ve found there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem. But there are a few ideas that have stood the test of time.

1. Dare to run ads that are different.

Every industry has its clichés:

  • Health and fitness companies tend to show incredibly fit people.
  • Car companies tend to show their cars going fast on winding roads.
  • Industrial companies tend to show big heavy equipment moving big heavy things.

There’s a good reason those clichés exist. They’ve been tried, tested, and found to be true.

The problem is that they’re so common place that when you use them, you don’t stand out. As a result, people don’t notice your message, because they’ve seen or heard it a million times before by a million other companies.

If you want to stand out, you must take a risk and do something different.

2. Speak simply in your ad copy.

It’s tempting to use sophisticated language and industry jargon, because it shows that “we get it”. Sadly, this makes for bad advertising.

When talking to someone in person, you can often get a sense of their comfort with jargon and adjust how you speak. For example, you likely use different terms and words when speaking to a coworker than to a friend.

When advertising, you must use words that will work for everyone. Leave the jargon at the office.

3. Advertising should say something worth saying.

Most advertising never amounts to anything more than: “We exist, and here’s a thing or two that we do.”

How boring.

You may be in the business of making money, but you didn’t choose your line of work purely for the money. There’s something about it that drew you in.

What first got you excited about your business? The answer to that question is often a good place to start when creating your advertising. Passion is contagious.

4. Make a bold promise.

Do you:

  • Serve burgers, or serve the juiciest burgers north of the 49th parallel?
  • Make tractors, or make tractors that outlive their owners?
  • Sell furniture, or sell sofas that laugh in the face of spaghetti sauce?

Be bold. Promise the moon. (And deliver, of course.)

5. Advertising is a marathon, not a race.

Ads work better the more often people see them. Almost no one buys a product after seeing an ad only once. They’re not even likely to remember seeing the ad, because they’re seeing thousands of them per day.

The only sure-fire, guaranteed, works-every-single-time solution to making sure everyone knows about your company is to advertise consistently and often. It’s why every nation on the planet drinks Coke, wears Nikes, uses iPhones, and eats at McDonalds.

Advertising in a nut shell

If there’s one unifying idea behind all of advertising, it’s this:

  1. We notice the unusual. We’re wired to notice what’s different, what doesn’t belong.
  2. We remember what gets repeated. When we see or hear something repeatedly, our brains assume it’s important and remember it. We’ll stop consciously noticing it, but our subconscious never forgets.

When you can consistently be the black swan, the odd duck, that’s when you win. And that’s what we mean by “Ideas That Click.”


1. Finding Brand Success In The Digital World.
2. CBS News: Cutting Through Advertising Clutter.

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