ad copy commercials

What You Can Learn From Your Favorite Ads

Ricardo Castano IV
October 8, 2018

Whether it’s the “Skip Ad” button on YouTube or hitting the fast-forward on a DVR’d show, nothing feels quite as good as jumping past a commercial you hate. However, of the millions of commercials we’re bound to see in our lifetime, we’re going to end up with a couple of favorites.

Some of the ones you like might be loved by everyone. Others might tickle your funny bone only. Whatever the case, there are lessons to be learned regarding exactly why you enjoyed that commercial, and these are lessons you can use to make your content better.

The next time you see your next favorite commercial, ask yourself some of these questions. You might just end up discovering something about the way you (and all of us) think.

Why is this Your Favorite Ad?

What exactly did this advertisement do to get your attention? A lot of the time people go for comedy, which is never really a bad thing (except for fundraising for sick children and the like).

But other times it’s just a clever hook that drew you in. The advertisement did something to get your attention when you were on your phone – something that practically commanded you to look at it.

It’s probably easy to pinpoint what that something was. Understanding why it worked can help inform your approach to your own content later on. Knowing yourself isn’t just some vapid phrase you see in a motivational poster; it’s a key factor in understanding how you, as a consumer, process advertising that’s being delivered to you.

What Did They Do Right?

Sometimes you like ads because of how terrible they are. “As seen on TV” products are infamous for this. But sometimes you like ads not because of what they did laughably wrong, but because of the things they did right.

That could be good writing, interesting visuals, spot-on celebrity endorsement, or a dog in kayak suspended from a hot air balloon. All the commercials you genuinely like have something you wish you could do with your own work.

It’s just up to you to make it happen.

How Did They Do That?

That question is essentially the reverse-engineering of an advertisement, and it’s something you should ask yourself. The truly good ads usually require some out-of-the-box thinking. Watching the fruits of that labor can help you gain a fresh perspective for your projects.

One of the best things you can do when you’re stuck on a project is take a step back. The next time you need a creative boost, check out some old commercials. You never know what might inspire you.

Ideas Are Everywhere

Ultimately, good commercials teach us that content is everywhere and that we can always learn from them. We may think we know everything, but just like resources we can find online, advertising tells copywriters that there’s always more to discover about their craft.

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