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Ads that work

Ads that work

It’s all very well planning an advertising campaign, but how to you create ads that will travel well across this diverse region? Amol Ghate, of AMRB Dubai, shows us what works.

August 24, 2010 4:35 by



Ads that did well… kept it simple

Linear executions work well with the MENA consumers, who tend to miss out multi-layered plots. For example, in a toothpaste ad when a person’s shadow was shown fighting in the background while the person was eating food, a metaphor for fighting germs, consumers did not pick up the message.

Between the two, Egyptians are less adept at decoding multi-layered benefits, which is a function of less exposure to a variety of media programming among Egyptians who are less exposed to international media due to lower penetration of satellite TV.
Problem/solution formats, the most linear form of execution, tend to travel better across both countries because a clear understanding of a plot is a strong point.

Quite a few categories such as fairness cream, haircare, skincare, etc. tend to follow this genre of advertising.
For example, a skincare brand has consistently built its communication around the before/after theme, wherein the brand helps its protagonist to achieve her aspirations and be recognised.

Ads that did well… made them tap their feet

Music tends to drive enjoyment, especially regional pop, but not as a subtle background prop, when it tends to be less effective.
For example, many brands have successfully tapped into popular and contemporary music of singers such as Nancy Ajram, Haifa Wehbe, Amr Diab, Tamer Hosny, etc.

Ads that did well… made them laugh

Humour travels well across both markets, especially lighthearted, everyday humour. Subtle humour or extremely “witty” humour does not work so well with the consumers.

Usually, we have seen that whenever we have tested Western ads in these markets, they have not done too well, as they tend to rely on subtle humour.

For example, an ad that showed an old man getting inspired to do things he had never done in life did not resonate well with the consumers because they didn’t catch the humour in the situations.

Humour based on peoples’ actions/visuals tends to work better. Humour based on verbal quips, however, does not work as well.
For example, consumers did not see the funny side of a CSD brand that tried to showcase its diet credentials through verbal battle between the eyes and the tongue.



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