Advertising Challenge

The ad process

There are typically five steps to the ad process. Click on each link to find out more.

Ad Process - 5 Steps Know your target marketInvestigate your productMake the connectionExecute the BIG ideaHow will we sell the idea

Know your target markey

Put yourself in someone else’s space

One way of understanding other people is to put yourself in their space. Think for a moment about the times you tried to persuade other people. Think which ones were most successful and why. Chances are you were most successful in persuading the people you knew or understood best. By thinking of not just what you wanted to get out of it, but what they stood to benefit from the deal, you can work out a much better proposition and still get what you wanted as well.

For example, you may be starving to death after school because your mother has dragged you to the shopping centre to buy some new sports shoes. You want to eat but know that your mother does not like the junky food that they sell at the food court. So instead of asking for food, you ask for sushi, knowing that your mother considers this a healthy alternative and you like the taste as well.

The better you know the person you are talking with, the easier it is to communicate. You can talk more easily to your friends, for example, than to someone who is a different age group and who has different interests and values. So if you have to develop an advertising message for men and women 45-65 who suffer from incontinence, then you probably need to do a bit of research on who they are, what they like and what their values are.

Think about what is in it for them. As Charles Revson, founder of Revlon said, “Women don’t buy lipstick, they buy hope.”  

Investigate your product

Know your product and what it means to your target market

Your product is not the same to everyone.


“Hello, This is Georgia. My mobile is all about me. It is where my friends text me. Where I keep my favourite messages. It’s a portable photo album.”

“Hello, This is Sue. My mobile is something I always carry with me, but often forget to turn on – especially when someone has an urgent message for me! I like to have it for my own security and convenience, but don’t like people bothering me on it all the time.”

“Hello, This is Peter. My phone is my mobile office. I get calls, texts. I can read and send emails. It is an important part of my business and a permanent appendage during working hours. The first thing I do when I get home at night is switch if off.”

A mobile phone is not the same thing to everyone. That’s why you have to do some research. Try to not only find out as much as you can about the product, but find out what the product means to your target market.

Start by interrogating your product. Gather as much research as you can. Read research reports, lab reports, Choice reports. Talk to the people who make the product and those who buy it. Look for its physical characteristics – form, price, packaging, size. Consider its function – how is it used, what problems does it solve or what emotional needs might it satisfy. And think about its personality – is it new, how is it seen by consumers. There is no such thing as a dull product – only a dull mind!  

Make the connection

What is it that the target market wants from your product?

This is where you start to put the pieces together. If you understand your target market on one hand, then know your product on the other, it is a matter of putting the two together to make the connection. What is it about your product that satisfies the target market’s problems, needs or desires better than any of your competition? What is your proposition? If we look at Eagle Boys Pizza, for example, they offer a two minute menu and a drive through service. This makes a pizza more than just a pizza. It is a fast and easy alternative for working women who want the night off cooking. The fast easy dinner alternative satisfies both the target market’s emotional and physical (hunger) needs. This proposition then becomes the basis of the advertising message. This may be summed up in the creative slogan “Did someone say pizza?”

Every successful ad makes a powerful proposition to their target market. QUT as the “university for the real world” offers university students what they want. A job. Nike tells its target market to “Just do it”.  

How to execute the big idea

Creative Guidelines

Guideline 1: There are no hard and fast rules for creating great advertising but two things should always be there. First is uniqueness, so that your ad stands out from the clutter. Secondly, that uniqueness must directly relate to your brand personality.

Guideline 2: Most products and services are not unique. That is why your advertising should be.

Guideline 3: Your advertising message is the least important thing in the life of your consumer. How you communicate is just as important as what you communicate.

Guideline 4: You are not trying to convince the people who manufacture the product or product the service (that is, the client). They are already convinced and may be the worst judge of your campaign strategies for this very reason. Convince those most likely to buy.

Guideline 5: People will rarely tell you their true reasons for doing things. For liking some products and buying others. You must deduce their reasons for yourself.

Guideline 6: People tend to be highly irrational creatures. Many goods and services are purchased for highly irrational or emotional reasons. All advertising should rely to some extent on emotional appeals.

Guideline 7: Creating a brand personality is like investing a product or service with a human quality. An advertisement doesn’t sell the brand so much as it establishes a relationship between the brand and an individual consumer which may result in purchase.

Guideline 8: Clichés in ads are like boring people. We tend to avoid them or tune out.

Guideline 9: There is always a better way to sell something. Anyone can write an ordinary advertisement in seconds, but few can write great advertising.