Criteria for an Effective Ad Campaign

Chuck Pettis
Apr 27, 2018 · 3 min read

By Chuck Pettis

The most effective ad campaigns are based on a big idea — a combination of words and emotional images that project a personality.

The personality should be unique, short, and memorable.

The ad campaign has “legs” so that it can sustain variations and updates over time to keep it fresh.

The ad campaign is strategically based; it directly and literally supports the company’s positioning and brand identity.

The ad campaign builds meaningful emotional and rational (feature) associations with the brand name.

Drama: The ad campaign must capture and hold attention and create an emotional reaction.

Each ad in the campaign has a consistent look and feel, i.e., design layout.

Repetition being the soul and fuel of branding and marketing, an effective campaign also needs enough media coverage (frequency) to register with its audiences and build familiarity over time.

Ideally the ad campaign will also cause the target audiences to look forward to the next ad in the campaign.

If you are in a commodity market, it is a challenge and therefore important to establish a distinctive value proposition. When products and services are available from competitors, the ad campaign can’t just sell the benefits of the product or service.

According to John O’Toole, past president of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, who spent thirty-two years on the Sunkist Growers account, Sunkist is “the purest example of branding in my experience.”

As O’Toole explains it, from the very beginning, Sunkist’s purpose was to produce a branded agricultural product. It found a way of stamping the Sunkist logo on every one of the oranges that Sunkist produced and marketing — in effect, putting a package around them. And Sunkist created an ad campaign to establish superiority of these oranges over others that didn’t beat the stamp.

“The benefit for the Sunkist Growers is the premium price consumers will pay for an orange with that Sunkist stamp, which at one time was around fifteen cents for every dollar,” O’Toole says.

To command that kind of premium price, the product has to live up to the quality promised in the advertising. O’Toole says the Sunkist product surpassed the promise. (Sunkist story from 1994 TechnoBrands book by Chuck Pettis.)

Are you ready to build a strong ad campaign?

To connect with Chuck Pettis, visit his website, follow him on Twitter, check him out on LinkedIn, or read him on Medium.


Chuck Pettis

Written by

I love branding that uplifts the human spirit.


BrandSolutions helps entrepreneurs build strong brands.

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