Ask a room full of creative directors what the qualities of a great ad are, and I bet most of them include “unexpected” on their list. Here at Copeland, we’ve done ads for a funeral home featuring milkshakes and wine glasses, ads for a daily newspaper featuring a guy eating spaghetti, and ads for a recycle depot featuring a box of skulls. All unexpected. And all great ads.
But do great ads always need to be unexpected? When what you are selling is a sensory experience, I say no. A fast food joint usually puts hamburgers in their ads. Unexpected? Hardly. But is there a better way to stimulate appetite appeal and showcase the guilty pleasure waiting in store than using a fully-loaded burger? I can’t think of one. And if you’re selling a trip to Niagara Falls, is there a better way to capture the majesty and amazement of the experience and than putting the Falls in the ad? No! Of course, having a concept in there with the product shot makes it even better.
Putting the product in the ad is a common client request that creative teams often resist, but if the product shot elicits a strong emotional reaction*, I say PUT IT IN!
*among regular consumers, not the client’s marketing department