The Huh?, Ha. Formula: How to Get People to Remember Your Ads

Most ads aren’t relevant to most people, most of the times. If you can get people to remember your ads until it will become relevant to them, you’re ahead of the game.

So how can you do it?

For the first few years as a freelance graphic designer I couldn’t figure out why in the world ad agencies put so much time and effort to reach that cute idea. It was everywhere, creative logos, play on word captions, a visual catch, everywhere. But I still didn’t get the point.

I used to wonder, the main goal of an ad is to get the potential client to clearly understand the service, and a creative caption (without words afterwards) makes the clear complicated. I wondered the same with logos, when designing a logo there’s so much things to be considered for it to be effective, why waste time on having a cute hidden catch in it. This entire concept was ‘wonder’ful…

It came a day when I got it. I believe I was the happiest man that day.

This is why…

Every ad is seen by everyone, except if someone has his eyes covered. It’s just, it’s seen by their eyes but not registered by their minds. When someone sees an ad, if that ad is relevant to him he’ll mind register it without any creative stuff to it. But when someone sees an ad that’s not relevant to him, he’ll dismiss it within a second, and a minute later he won’t at all remember about that ad. And most ads aren’t relevant to most people most of the times.

So how can a shoe store giving free coffee for every purchase get people to mind register their offer, that the next time they need shoes and want a free coffee they’ll remember about their offer? The secret is in the “Huh?, Ha.” formula. Advertisers should aim at getting from the people seeing their ad a huh? or a ha. This few seconds when people try figuring out the caption, or give a laugh from a cute twist in the logo is enough for the ad or logo to be registered in their mind and stored there until he needs the service or product. Bravo!


Before considering using the “Huh? Ha.” formula let’s make this clear:

Better be clear than cute, but even better, be cute and clear. Creative without clear gets people to register in their mind, um, what? They don’t know what to register. Oh, you want them to register that you give free coffee when they buy shoes they anyways have to buy?! Wow, now we’re talking, what’s your number?

Have a clear and understandable caption or whatever you’re doing, but add some fun to it.

Here’s some ideas of how to use the “Huh? Ha.” Formula. Don the creative hat…

1: A coffee cup that’s also a smile will make a great logo.

One aspect of an effective logo is a creative twist. With it, more people will mind register your logo. Next time they see an ad with your logo, which they recognize, for they’ve already mind registered it, there’s bigger chances they’re going to act on the ad.

2: Visual cute.

A great way to get people to mind register your ad is with visual images of things you don’t see at home. It gets people to give it a glance and say “huh?”

3: Stand out of the box.

Imagine an entire white ad with just a little powerful message at the bottom with a call to action. How powerful is that? Wouldn’t that earn much mind registration from all people seeing it? Powerful it is, and it will earn very much mind registration.

4: Hack into it.

Take the number one news out there, and literally hack into it. Mention it in the caption, or even also use its theme.