How To Make An Ad

by Holland-Mark | December 4, 2009

It’s not uncommon these days for Joe Blow Web 2.0 to need to create an ad for something, in digital or physical media. Most of what they produce is a waste of money and time, and though that’s all too often true of The Professionals as well, pros like my friend at right have a distinct advantage in the form of something called a Creative Brief.

A Creative Brief is a kind of intellectual scaffolding for the magic of great ad creation. It frames the communication challenge in a way that helps talented people come up with a solution. While different agencies have their own take on the particulars, most of the big boys use a minor variant of the below.

Get In the Zone

Start by thinking about your target … not as a “Target Audience,” but as a person. Put them in your head … A real live individual, think about what they look like, and what they’re doing at the time they get your message. Ready?

OK … Five Steps, to be done in order:

  1. Define the Desired State: What is it, exactly, that you want this person to think, feel, or do as a result of receiving this communication?
  2. Define the Current State: Relative to the Desired State, what does he/she think, feel, or do today, in advance of receiving this communication?
  3. Define the Key Thought: What is the singular, essential idea you believe will move this person from the Current State to the Desired State?
  4. Define the Support Points: What evidence, if any, do you have to prove the validity of this Key Thought? If more than three, what are the three most impactful?
  5. Begin the Creative Process: Once you have all that straight, we can start noodling ideas that will capture your target’s attention enough to deliver the Key Thought.

At some point, when you need to bring in the big guns, please give us a call.

Until then, I hope this little bit of advice will do you some good, and we welcome your thoughts, ideas, or questions if you’re still in DIY mode.