4 Easy Ways to Make Memorable Ads

When you put together an ad campaign, what’s your primary purpose? Surely it’s to draw people to your product, right? There’s something else of importance, though: getting people to remember your product after moving on from the ad or putting down their electronic device. How do you do this? By making memorable ads.


There are many ways of doing this, and you can probably think of ones we haven’t covered, but here are some tips for keeping people thinking of what they’ve seen minutes and hours later.

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Keep Your Message Simple

What is your product, what does it do, and what do you want consumers to know about it?

These are the core factors that need to feature, in some way, in your ad. How you convey that is up to you – there is a whole world of options open to you – and you have no need to feel restricted when it comes to engaging people. The fact remains, though, that all too often, people go all-in with their vision, without considering what it says about their product.

It’s easy to see why this happens – designers getting ahead of themselves and wanting to prove their artistic credentials or agency copywriters aiming for Cannes Lions recognition – but it doesn’t have to be that way. Keeping a strong focus, even if all those around you are losing theirs, will ensure that your product remains in the minds of consumers long after the first glimpse at your ad.

This doesn’t mean that you must show a picture of the product, with a bare-bones explanation of it. That’s not appealing to consumers these days. Take, instead, the Guinness adverts of the 1990s as examples of how to show the best side of a product, ironically, without actually showing that product.

“He waits…”

In particular, the Guinness ‘Surfing Horses’ ad has become the stuff of legend thanks to illustrating the best qualities of Guinness – as the ad sees it. It shows a metaphorical tidal wave of refreshment, which is what the makers of the Irish beer hope people drinking it will feel.

Whether this cryptic approach to advertising would work with a product that is less iconic than Guinness is open to discussion, but it at least illustrates that to be ‘about’ a product, and to show its good qualities, it is possible to do a great deal without simply showing a picture of what you’re selling.

Jokes Can Help Make You Memorable

When you’re giving a presentation, it is often said, “start with a joke”. There are caveats to this; it depends on the subject of the presentation, and on the audience. However, it does focus the minds of those listening to what you’re saying. Laughter is like a natural release valve, and it makes everyone feel better.

You should focus strongly on your ad, which people can see and understand easily, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make people laugh. If your product is intended to be enjoyed by people, why not show the funny side of using it?

The makers of Players Unknown Battleground (PUBG), the battle royale shooter that inspired viral sensation Fortnite, understood this. They recently launched a series of ads featuring “The Worst Player in the World”. They use him to poke fun at the online players of PUBG who don’t seem to take part in the game with any logic or understanding of how to be successful in it.

While the campaign won’t attract people who don’t already play online shooters, it serves the dual purpose of reinforcing loyalty and encouraging the return business of those who already enjoy the game, while also reminding lapsed players of what they enjoyed about it, and maybe encouraging fans of other shooters such as the Call of Duty or Halo series, to try it out and see if they enjoy it.

Colours Make Memorable Ads Stand Out

Colour is a significant consideration in your ad campaign. You want to reflect the brand’s values for the main colours on your ad. This means for a company like McDonald’s, clashing red and yellow work with the brand, and consumers have come to expect and welcome big, bold images to sell its products.

Other brands rely on a subtler palette to succeed with their ads. For example, Apple, in its signature ads for iPhones and iPads, uses black, white, and a few neon or pastel colours to liven everything up, along with hands operating the device and some funky music. It’s something they’ve kept similar for over a decade.

This consistent approach to graphic design means that Apple’s understated ads are recognizable to everyone as soon as they come on, but people still watch for subtle variations. These variations happen within that narrow selection of colors, which come in various combinations.

You may wish to have a call-to-action that is a completely different color to the rest of your ad. This approach has been shown to get the attention of people who may not otherwise have engaged with what was in front of them. A yellow CTA on a black background? Why ever not? Give it a try!

Cut Down on the Choices You’re Offering People

You know how people complain about modern cars, and that they’re giving the driver too much to do? Often, people saying this cite the ‘infotainment’ screens – touchscreen devices in many higher-end vehicles which allow the driver to see a large map, to control all aspects of the car’s climate control system, to adjust the power going to the wheels, and even to put on albums and podcasts from Spotify or Apple Music.

It’s a testament to the advances in technology that car manufacturers are now able to offer this degree of customization to the driver. It’s also very true that a lot of drivers love the endless changes they can make to make their car truly personal, and the perfect environment in which to spend hours of their day.


Others, on the other hand, say that they are baffled by the controls on the screen and that they don’t use half of the features on offer. They’re not wrong; there’s a tendency to mock people who feel uncomfortable around computers, but they’re more common than is often imagined by those in the tech bubble.

Those people would make the perfectly logical argument that if they are driving a car, why should they have to think about anything other than driving a car? This is where the modern abundance of choice is a negative, so it can help reduce the choices available to people to a few simple options.

Doing this exercise as an advertiser can be useful, as it can help you to identify your core message. It can also win over more tech-sceptic or less confident users, potentially increasing engagement beyond those who are already supporters of a brand. You may be doing people a favour by reducing the choices people have to make in your interactive ads. A bare-bones approach is not always the wrong approach.

This is also the case if you want Google Chrome, the world’s most popular browser, to allow sites to show your ad. As we’ve explored beforehand, Google’s algorithm changes are stopping overly heavy ads from being displayed – if you want your ad to be memorable, first it has to be actually seen by the audience you’re hoping for.

The Key Takeout

Interactive ads, whether rich media or another kind, offer marketers a new way of reaching out to an audience, and of drawing people into a brand. To do that, the same principles that have always applied to advertising still apply: an ad must be memorable after it has been viewed; otherwise, there is less motivation to seek out the product. Using our tips above, you can craft memorable ads of your own.

Let us know how you get along!

For more tips on building a brand that truly matters to people, check out our guide to building brand equity.