Discover creative advertising ideas to stop your target audience in their tracks and stand out from your competitors. Boost your brand identity with a unique ad campaign and increase sales to grow your business.
Creating fresh advertising content that hooks your customers is getting trickier as attention spans shorten the huge number of ads that fight for your target audience’s attention. It’s a tough job to come up with original content.
Creativity combined with a think outside the box attitude is the only solution in a world where people are constantly bombarded with advertisements on their devices. Browse our ideas and examples of successful ads to find inspiration for brainstorming your next ad campaign.
Villainize the Consumer’s Problem to Increase Sales
Targeting customer pain points is always a good starting point for your marketing strategy. Customers are looking for quick and easy solutions to their problems. That’s why successful businesses focus their promotional efforts on highlighting customer benefits.
In your advertising campaigns, you can take this a step further and create a story that includes a conflict that revolves around an issue your customers are facing. The problem becomes the villain while your branded solution saves the day. Both can be personified and well-designed characters make your brand instantly recognizable.
Make sure you give both the villain and hero of your story human characteristics to make them relatable. Their physicality and behavior have to reflect our own emotions to generate an emotional response from the audience and create a more personal connection with your brand.
Safeguard Hygiene Crushes Germs
This is a popular method for cleaning, household, and personal hygiene products that are aimed at families. Bacteria or stains turn into cartoon villains that haunt the people in the ad until the product swoops in to save them.
Personal hygiene brand Safeguard displays this in their commercial tapping into a typical day in the life of a family. They show a familiar back-to-school scenario in which kids are happy to reunite with their friends but are also exposed to more germs. The germs are depicted as slimy and green cartoon characters that get crushed by the product.
Source: Safeguard Hygiene
Craft Incredible Street Art
Often referred to as guerilla advertising and a technique many marketers dream of, street art can have a huge impact on a marketing campaign. It ranges from chalk art to graffiti that stops people in their tracks to take pictures and post them on social media. This means free advertising on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
The goal is to create incredible art that stands out in a cityscape carrying your brand name. To draw the eye of your customers, collaborating with an experienced street artist is the best way to create a memorable mural for your business.
This creative advertising idea is also eco-friendly as there’s no printing needed and no toxic ink or glue are used as for traditional billboards. Locations might be limited but eye-catching street art easily gets a lot of shares on social media, which opens up your creative ad to a global audience.
EA Sports Celebrates New Football Talent
EA Sports put the focus on young football talent with murals across the UK to launch the new FIFA 21 game on PlayStation 5. They were designed by Graphic Designer and Illustrator Scott McRoy and show Trent Alexander-Arnold, Phil Foden, Georgia Stanway, Steven Bergwijn, Mason Mount.
The colorful designs stretch across the sides of buildings impressing passers-by and looking at them more closely to find the PS5 logo at the bottom. They’re a celebration of new football talent while also promoting the game, which creates the emotional connection that advertisers are always aiming for.
Source: EA Sports
Engage Your Audience with an AR Ad
As augmented reality or AR has become more sophisticated over the years, it has also become a tool in the arsenal of advertisers. The relative novelty of it, the interactivity, and the creative possibilities have made this technology an effective and entertaining way to connect brands with their customers.
There are marker-based augmented reality ads, which require a marker or target image that customers aim their smartphone cameras at to bring content to life. The other type is location-based and requires GPS to show users content based on their location.
The interactive nature of an AR ad instantly creates an emotional connection, as audiences enjoy the gameplay and lifelike experience. AR ads can be more cost-effective and are far more immersive than print advertising. Initially building the application involves a cost but the app can be reused in a different way for future campaigns.
Burger King Virtually Burns Competitors’ Ads
In their provocative AR campaign, Burger King gets customers to digitally burn competitors’ ads to get a free Whopper. Burger King fans just point their smartphone at a competitor’s billboard. Then they see it burn away on their screens revealing a voucher to get their free burger.
It’s a clever and daring method to use competitor ads and turn them into promotional material for Burger King. It’s entertaining and customers get a freebie out of it, which creates positive associations with the brand.
Source: Burger King
Get Creative with Immersive Installations
Installation, experiential, or ambient outdoor advertising is a powerful tool to promote the key message of your ad campaign and raise brand awareness. Creative ads like that can be placed in both outdoor and indoor public spaces.
The installations are often ingenious or grand to attract the attention of passers-by, who in an ideal scenario stop, stare, and share. Real-life advertising merges with the online world as social media makes these campaigns go viral with people taking photos with an impressive ad and spreading the word.
All it takes is to put up your installation in a popular location in a major city and use the organic virality to make your campaign a global success. That’s why many large brands have created immersive advertising like this across the world.
Nissan Impresses Audience with 3D Experience
Global car brand Nissan created this 3D experience to show off the new electrified Qashqai. The screen that was set up on London’s South Bank for a week was a six-meter four-sided cube that showed the car emerging from a storm.
The one-minute clip included impressive 3D features that show content flying out from the screen. You could also scan a QR code to get a richer augmented reality for your smartphone making the experience even more immersive.
Source: Nissan UK
Advertise Your Brand with Stunning Vehicle Wraps
Vehicle wraps are an impressive and mobile way to reach as many people as possible with your ad campaign. Global brands use them but they can be even more effective for local brands to use company vans as mobile billboards. Ensure you’ve pinned down your brand identity by considering color symbolism and the meaning of fonts to convey the personality of your business.
An intriguing design with a company logo and contact details can spark initial interest. This way your company vehicle stands out and shows your business out and about serving customers. Car wraps also add to a cohesive and professional look as they represent your brand.
Creatives Against Covid-19 Collective Spreads Awareness for Charity
Advertising on buses takes your moving billboard to the next level, as they travel around a certain area throughout the day. The “Have HeART” campaign showcases intriguing art by Irish artists from the Creatives Against Covid-19 collective.
The collective partnered up with Dublin Bus to raise awareness about their online store where you can buy the posters displayed on the buses. Proceeds go to ISPCC Childline and Women’s Aid to help children and women affected by the pandemic.
Source: Creatives Against Covid-19
Surprise Your Audience with an Unexpected Crossover
If your budget allows, an unexpected crossover to surprise or shock gets you the attention of a wider audience or even makes your ad campaign go viral. Crossovers can involve combining different genres or anything you can think of in an interesting way.
Consider a partnership with another brand that helps you establish a twist in your ad. This kind of collaboration often results in more innovative ideas for ads than a solo campaign.
Ryan Reynolds Trailer Reaction with a Twist
Ryan Reynolds and his advertising agency Maximum Effort combined the genre of trailer reaction videos with his on-screen appearance as Deadpool. Unsurprisingly Ryan Reynolds in character as Deadpool breaks the fourth wall here, but the twist is that he’s not reacting to a new Deadpool movie.
Ryan Reynolds and Taika Waititi as the voice of Korg both react to the movie Free Guy. It’s their latest project, in which they’re both starring. Trailer reactions are popular YouTube videos and having an actor react to his own movie in character from another film is ingenious.
Source: Maximum Effort
Keep Your Ads Fresh with User-Generated Content
A great way to get your target audience engaged in your ad campaign and boost brand awareness is to run ads that encourage user-generated content or UGC. This can range from images to videos, to social media and blog posts that relate to your business and are created by customers.
Often they follow a call to action and submit their content via branded hashtags on social media. Through these kinds of campaigns, your customers feel like they’re part of an online community. This generates authenticity and builds trust in your business.
Doritos’ Legion of Creators Generates Promotional Content
Doritos has worked with user-generated content since 2006 when they first put out the call to their fans to submit videos of ideas for a Super Bowl commercial. This campaign was retired to create the new Doritos Legion of Creators targeting Gen Z instead of millennials.
In this new campaign, customers complete challenges on Instagram or TikTok that involve showing off Doritos. Winners of the challenges will be rewarded with a cash prize creating another incentive to enter next to the possibility of a few minutes of fame.
Capitalize on Meme Culture for Your Ad Campaign
To make an ad campaign stand out, leverage the power of meme culture and connect with your customers through humor. If your marketing team can pinpoint the right time for pop culture references, ads based on memes, or using meme principles, these types of ads can catch on easily and make your brand instantly more memorable.
If you’re considering using or creating memes, ensure that you keep them funny and relatable for your target audience. This can be tricky. Humor is subjective and you have to be careful to not offend anyone. Still, a meme ad that hits the nail on the head with the right audience at the right time is a creative way to get your new products or services seen.
Spotify Builds Witty Ads Based on Memes
In a global brand campaign, music streaming service Spotify taps into meme culture with their billboard and poster ads. The ads are inspired by memes combined with a fitting playlist or song to convey the mood of the one-liner.
Spotify’s audience of millennials instantly understands the reference and appreciates a brilliant meme. The campaign shows a clear understanding of the audience. It builds a connection between the brand and customers in an entertaining and engaging way.
Utilize the Power of Social Media
Advertising on social media has become a cost-effective way to promote products and services and an essential part of every marketing strategy. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin provide ways to reach new customers at a lower entry cost than other forms of advertising.
Social media platforms offer a wide range of tools to create engaging ads easily. Get a myriad of creative possibilities to drive engagement and sales. With as little as a few product photos, you can create slideshow or carousel ads with clear calls to action linking to a landing page of your choice. Combined with engaging organic social media content, these types of ads boost traffic to your website.
Create a TikTok Challenge
The trend-generating social media platform TikTok has us all hooked ever since we had to stay at home in 2020 and joined in the fun of dance challenges. The main reason why videos go viral on the platform is the audio system. Once uploaded, the audio can be used by any user to create a dance or lip-synced video with their own spin on the audio clip.
TikTok’s algorithm favors popular content and picks it up to spread it across users’ For You pages. To get in on the fun as an advertiser, you need to create a clever challenge or a fun dance tied to a branded hashtag. Another option is to jump on an existing trend or collaborate with a content creator to create authentic content and promote your business.
A branded hashtag challenge like Natur-E’s TikTok campaign to drive awareness for their new jingle can be your way to increase engagement with your brand. As part of their marketing campaign, the Indonesian skincare brand Nature-E collaborated with five TikTok creators to create a dance for their new jingle.
On top of the catchy soundtrack and trendy moves, Natur-E motivated users to participate by offering prizes for the five most popular videos. To increase visibility in the first few days of the campaign, the skincare brand released TikTok ads as well as a banner on the Discover page.
Craft a Dedicated Instagram Page
Create branded content using colors and specific types of fonts according to your guidelines to turn the grid view on your Instagram Business account into a representation of your brand. Use your Instagram posts to develop your brand’s story and give potential followers an overview at a glance.
A grid view that is pleasing to the eye gives a great first impression and inspires confidence that your business knows exactly what they’re doing on social media. This entices your audience to click the Follow button. When developing a dedicated grid layout, keep your business objectives and your posting schedule in mind.
If you want to stand out more with this type of advertising, create a dedicated Instagram page for a product launch to tell the full story. Ariana Grande’s campaign to promote releases of her new albums and tours is a great example.
The popular singer used multiple Instagram posts to create larger images that announce albums, tracklists, release dates, and to show her journey as an artist. There’s a consistent color scheme matching her brand and the Instagram page shows off her work in an exciting way as fans discover the full picture scrolling down.
Use Gameplay to Take Your Advertising to the Next Level
If you’re looking for an interactive way to engage your audience, playable ads on Facebook offer an effective opportunity. This type of ad is particularly successful on mobile and businesses that provide apps or games often use it.
Through the interactive nature of playables, customers can test an app or game before they buy it. To reach your audience, create a captivating lead-in video, provide a user-friendly experience, and make sure your call to action is visible throughout.
Mobile gaming provider Monster Legends used the interactivity of playables ads to offer a scaled demo experience to potential gamers. Users could try out the game, get immersed in it, and download the app.
The hands-on preview of the game helped to reach a wider audience and drive traffic towards the Monster Legends Google Play and App Store pages.
Advertise on a Dating App
An unconventional way to reach a wide audience is to advertise on a dating app like Tinder. To advertise on Tinder you can go for the traditional way of programmatic digital ads or create fake profiles to attract users’ attention.
When a user swipes right on these profiles, they see a full-screen ad. Tinder users can close this ad by swiping left or tapping the X icon. This makes it more immersive than other in-app advertisements. For a successful ad campaign on Tinder ensure that your content is relevant within the context of the dating app to avoid alienating users.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t be creative and use Tinder in an unusual way for your marketing campaign. After user-generated content on social media platforms like Twitter had dried up, the Royal Ontario Museum chose the dating app as their new marketing channel to reach their young audience and get them interested in their Friday Night Live event.
To give their campaign a boost, the museum created a profile with a witty bio for their T-Rex Teddy. Tinder users were able to chat with the dinosaur creating funny conversations and leading them to find out more about the event and the museum.
Although digital ad formats have become dominant in the last decade, creative ways to increase sales still require innovation that involves more than just the online world. If carried out in an impactful manner, street art, car wraps, and immersive installations attract attention while digital ads get ignored in the flood of commercial content users are exposed to online.
To stand out from the crowd of advertisers, creativity is key. A clever combination of what is thought of as more traditional advertising and digital can be your way to virality. The above examples show that it comes down to stopping your target audience in their tracks, look at your ad, and sharing their experience on social media.