It is definitely the end of an era, and I’m not just saying that because AMC’s beloved Mad Men has come to a close. Gone are the days when slivers of creativity still managed to shine in the confines of sound bites, clips, and print inserts. A charismatic creative director is no longer the sole driving force behind groundbreaking ad campaigns. Alluring imagery and catchy jingles are not enough to persuade consumers into purchasing; consumers now expect and practically demand much more from brands.
All of this might sound unfathomable for Don Draper to comprehend if he was tasked to work his ad magic for today’s consumers. Take a look at some of the ads made during that time; they have not aged well. In fact some of these ads would cause viral uproar if they were mainstream today. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t keep the spirit of Mad Men alive in your advertising efforts!
How can you keep Don’s legacy thriving in the modern marketing era by translating brilliant ads into business success? Here’s how:
- Forget what you already know – Take everything that you learned from textbooks about marketing and chuck it out of the window. Real advertising campaigns are not structured around abstract concepts and definitions. Every single initiative will differ; so treat each promotion and branding initiative like it’s a potential gold mine.
- Don’t let budgets deter you – where there’s a will, there is a way! Not every single landmark advertising campaign costs millions of dollars. For example, take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which was arguably the biggest viral campaign of 2014. They spent little to no money on advertising this initiative but relied word of mouth to spread awareness and raise money. And it worked like a charm as countless people, including celebrities, partook in the challenge.
- Invoke curiosity – Create an element of intrigue that will leave your audience eager to learn more about your brand. For example, let’s look at the Ice Bucket Challenge again; the name itself will make you curious. You probably asked yourself any or all of these questions when you first came across the campaign:
“What kind of challenge is this?”
“Why are my friends tagging me in videos?”
“Why on Earth are they dumping ice on themselves?”
“What does this have to do with ALS?”
4) Make people FEEL something good – The best ads (the ones that make us not only remember brands favorably but get us to act) are the ones that make us feel. Take Apple for instance as their groundbreaking 1984 Super Bowl ad made us excited for Mac. Dove also knocks branding out of the park as all of their ad campaigns focus on “Real Beauty”. These campaigns strive to help women realize their inner beauty thus making women feel more confident in their skin
Be bold – Successful ad campaigns come from brands that have not only solidified their identity as bold and daring, but have communicated envelope pushing ideas and stories. Apple was definitely not timid when they made that game changing Super Bowl ad. Another example of a bold ad would be the Old Spice YouTube campaign featuring Isaiah Mustafa, a video series that made us laugh and smile at Old Spice’s exaggeration of the ideal man.
- Turn no idea away: When you’re brainstorming, open up the floodgates to any and all ideas you have. Yes, that also includes the absurd ones as they could very well serve as the foundation onto which a brilliant idea is built upon.
- Stay true to your brand – Last but certainly not least: stay true to the core values your brand stands for. Don’t strive to create a show-stopping ad campaign that has nothing to do with your product or services and alters your brand’s identity
Okay Modern Day Don Draper, here are the tips you need to embrace if you want to make compelling ads. To quote the Mad Man himself: “Success comes from standing out, not fitting in.” So stand out by making outstanding ads!
Andrea Misir is a Staff Writer and Social Media Strategist at Venerate Media Group. When she’s not busy writing about the wonders of social media and marketing and making social media and marketing wonders happen for her clients, she enjoys yoga, going to the gym, and sipping on an occasional Old Fashioned Mad Men style. She is based in NYC and has worked with a variety of big and small brands, including Sprint, J&J, Showtime, and more.