WOLFBITES - Issue 19

What you can learn from the marketing strategies employed in top ten advertising campaigns

It's true that top ten television commercials have huge budgets. But that does not mean you can't apply the same tricks of the trade that makes these spots memorable, even on a very small budget. Following are some of my favorite ads, what makes them great and how you can use the same ideas in your own advertising.

We wrap up with my vote for the worst commercial of the year. See if you agree and vote on our quick fix. It's all fun and you could win a big, fat prize.

Discover Card commercial – Why touching a sore spot is always an effective advertising strategy

Discover Card television ad, the subject of a marketing blog by Toronto freelance writer Wolfgang Franke
Discover Card commercial.

This Discover Card commercial features a big cast and an elaborate set, but at the core it is about just one thing: poor customer service. Every word, every image, every sound (it's no accident that the main character speaks with accent) is focused on reminding us about the perils of bad service.

Ads that fail to do just the opposite: they try to cover multiple subjects and fail because the viewer experiences information overload. Remember this simple rule: make ten points about one subject, not a series of single points about ten different subjects.

Ally Bank commercial – Why show, don't tell leads to increased awareness and sales

Ally Bank television commerical, the subject of a small busines advertising blog by Toronto freelance copywriter Wolfgang Franke.
See how Ally Bank differentiates itself from competing banks without ever even mentioning banks or banking services.

Ok, we all hate businesses that treat customers unfairly. We especially hate when a business gives a new customer a better deal than an existing customer. But what if we switched things up by creating a scenario where it is children that are getting ripped off? That's at the core of the Ally Bank television advertising campaign and it works because nobody likes to see children treated unfairly and, even more important, there is no preaching. Remember: you are not trying to tell a prospective customer why they should buy your product or service. You are trying to show why it pays to use your product or service. Big difference.

E*trade baby – Making an impression by merging traditional advertising media with social media

E Trade television commercial, the subject of a marketing blog by Toronto freelance copywriter Wolfgang Franke, who specializes in copywriting for small business.
See how an E*trade television commercial captures interest instantly because it looks unlike any other advertising by an investment advisory company.

There is a lot happening in this E*trade commercial. Note, once again, the use of children in place of adult customers. It's instantly eye-catching and memorable. But what's really outstanding here is the execution. The entire commercial, featuring jump cuts and other seemingly unprofessional elements, looks like a home video.

In short, we have a big-budget TV commercial that looks like a low-budget social media production. Brilliant. You could do something similar by using social media content (Twitter comments, Facebook postings, customer picture or video) in your next campaign. You will end up with a commercial that doesn't look like a commercial.

Even more important, you will have an ad that looks much different than anything the competition is doing. Just remember to ask for permission to use any customer generated content.

Bridgestone tires – Advertising works when it tells a story

Bridgestone Tires television commerical, the subject of an advertising blog by Toronto copywriter Wolfgang Franke focusing on best television advertising.
Bridgestone breaks the mould for car tire advertising by telling a story that delivers key selling points in an all new way that touches the heart.

Great movies, great books and great ads have one thing in common – they tell a story. But how do you tell a story while selling a product? You follow the lead of Bridgestone. The selling part for Bridgestone was easy: Bridgestone tires are a good buy because they promote safety by providing superior breaking and steering.

The story telling was up to the agency and they hit a home run by seamlessly integrating the sales message into a compelling and memorable story about a driver and a grateful beaver. If you haven't watched the spot yet, watch it now. The artistry of this commercial is that it tells a complete story - man saves beaver, beaver saves man – in 30 seconds and almost every frame supports the sales message.

Other advertisers go wrong by devoting most of an ad to a story that has nothing to do with the product and there is no better example than our vote for worst commercial of the year. Have a look and see if you agree.


Wolfgang Franke is President & Creative Director of Words at Work Advertising & Marketing, a full service communications company established in 1988. Our growing list of valued clients are found throughout our local market, Markham and the Greater Toronto area, across Canada in cities such as London, Ontario, and Edmonton, Alberta, and an expanding list of international locations ranging from The Big Apple in New York to Kanturk, Ireland.




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