Advertising was my first choice for a career since middle school. I remember feeling a calling to the industry and pursued my interest in it all the way through to the present – now working in market research.

It has always been an effective way for me to spread information and persuade others. I was elected class president in high school, and dorm room president during my first year at University of Oregon with lots of posters and lots of messaging to influence positive word of mouth.

Despite my interest, and that I graduated with a BS in advertising, I wasn’t able to find academic courses on the subject until very late in life. The first and only two advertising classes I could enroll in were offered only to college seniors. The industry is not studied with the same depth and breadth of other fields and for that reason people are uneducated about what makes a really good advertisement.

In my opinion there are three pillars of good advertising. They are so obvious, yet so often missed by folks discussing and creating advertisements. Please read, view the exemplary advertisements and enjoy.17851863_s

  • Does the commercial make you want to buy the product?

It is so obvious that the reason for advertising is to create sales. Advertisers are not in the entertainment industry, but ad critics so often cite the “funny” or “heartwarming” ads as being the best. That is so wrong! This Silk Almond Milk commercial provides a clear alternative to dairy milk and reassures viewers they won’t be disappointed by their choice. Consumers are made to feel naïve if they don’t buy it, try it, and find out for themselves.

  • Do you know what the advertisement is for?

When people tell me they like an ad, my response is to ask them what the ad was selling. You would be amazed how many people simply can’t remember. They remember the ad, but forgot the product! Here is an example of M&M’s most recognizable brand in the world.  Within two seconds of watching, viewers know and will remember what company and product is being advertised

  • Is the advertisement truthful?

I know… it seems like there should be a punch line here. But the reality is that deceptive advertising can only work on consumers one time before they wise up. This public service announcement for gun safety makes a point to viewers which very few parents will debate. The truth of the message is what makes it effective.

Although I wasn’t able to learn much about advertisement in school, I have learned profound things working for senior advertising professionals. For one thing, opinions about good advertising are always subjective. So let me know your thoughts on good advertising and please share examples!

-Lee Sumner, Sr. Research Manager