Friday, 3 August 2007

Advertising Deconstructed

This is an article I saw recently, I suggest you read it and go on to click the link to view the slide show as it makes particularly fascinating viewing especially to young designers like ourselves!

"Title: There are 12 kinds of Ad's in the world; RESIST THEM ALL
By Seth Stevenson

In 1978, Donald Gunn was a creative director for the advertising agency Leo Burnett. Though his position implied expertise, Gunn felt he was often just throwing darts—relying on inspiration and luck (instead of proven formulas) to make great ads. So, he decided to inject some analytical rigor into the process: He took a yearlong sabbatical, studied the best TV ads he could find, and looked for elemental patterns. After much research, Gunn determined that nearly all good ads fall into one of 12 categories—or "master formats," in his words. At last year's Clio Awards, I saw Gunn give a lecture about these formats (using ads mostly from the '70s and '80s as examples), and I was fascinated by his theory. I soon found myself categorizing every ad I saw on TV. It was a revelation: The curtain had been pulled back on all those sly sales tactics at the heart of persuasive advertising. This slide show presents some recent ads exemplifying each of Gunn's 12 basic categories. With a little practice, you, too, will be ticking off the master formats during commercial breaks."

After viewing this slideshow, I mainly thought about how the “12 types of adverts” would be helpful to us, as it demonstrated the realm of possibilities of how to go about advertising a particular product or service. I know we should try and stay away from a standard formulae, but somewhere along the line, adverts we do create are likely to fit into, or be a hybrid of some of these sets. It is very easy to categorise adverts I now see on TV within Gunn’s observation, and here are a few examples I have found;

“Ongoing Character”;



Seth Stevenson, the gentleman who wrote the article is an ad critic and actually encourages the general public to clock onto advertisers tactics, and in a sense become immune to the advertisements they see on TV, as he so articulately put it “It's like learning how a magic trick works: Once the secret's revealed, the trick loses all its power”. If Stevenson’s encouragement did take off on a massive scale, the outcome could potentially have disastrous consequences for companies, but more interestingly it would see if advertisers, such as ourselves could rise to the challenge.

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