Creative strategies in advertising

In advertising, different creative strategies are used in order to obtain consumer attention and provoke shoppers to purchase or use a specific product. Advertisers use different ways of thinking to create catchy slogans that capture consumer attention. Creative strategies promote publicity, public relations, personal selling and sales promotion.

These ways of thinking are divided into three basic descriptions: Weak strategies, mid-strength strategies and strong strategies. The strategies labeled "strong, mid-strength, and weak are generic phrases used in the text books referenced below to help students understand the intensity of each different type of advertising strategy. Advertisements, weak, mid-strength, and strong can be found in television, radio, and magazines/print.

Since the beginning of advertising, strategies have been created, starting with the simplest (weak) strategies in the 1940s.

1 Weak strategies
2 Middle-strength strategies
3 Strong strategies
4 References

Weak strategies

Generic and Pre-emptive strategies describe the two weakest forms of advertising that were most popular through the 1940s.

* A generic strategy gives a product attribution. An example of this would be how the beef industry chose to advertise their product. With their slogan, “Beef, it's what's for dinner,” consumers aren't learning anything new about the product.
* The Beef slogan simply states beef as a dinner item. It enhances the product in no other way.

A pre-emptive strategy is a form of advertising that makes a generic claim stronger. An example of a pre-emptive strategy can be found in Folgers Coffee. As many of us know, most all coffee is grown in the mountains. Folgers took that fact and claimed it as their own with their slogan, “Folgers: Mountain Grown Coffee.”

Middle-strength strategies

Secondly, are the mid-strength strategies: unique positioning strategy, brand image and positioning.

A unique positioning strategy is proving that something about your product is truly unique. This is commonly found when producers take an average product and add a new, unique element to it. An example of Unique Positioning Strategy would be in Crest toothpaste. Crest added the unique feature of Scope in their product to differentiate it from other brands of toothpaste.

* A downfall in Unique positioning strategy advertising is that if a unique feature increases sales on one product, many other brands are likely to adopt the “unique” feature, making the end product not so unique.

Positioning is one of the most common forms of advertising. It was developed in the 1970s and is still widely used today. In positioning one brand will take its product and “position” it against a competing product.

* An example of positioning can be found in the rental car company Avis slogan. With The Hertz car company being the leader in rental car services, Avis took their number two position and used it to their advantage by creating the slogan, “When you're number two, you try harder.”

Brand Image is another very common way companies choose to advertise. In brand image, an advertiser is not trying to create rational thinking. This type of advertising strives to create emotion and give a brand a personality. A common way of doing this is by using a celebrity as a spokesperson.

* A great example of brand image is found in Proactive Acne Solutions. In each of their commercials they have celebrities sharing their Proactive experiences, giving the brand a face people want to be.

Strong strategies

The third and strongest form of creative strategy includes affective advertising and resonance advertising.

Making people feel really good about a product is called affective advertising. This is difficult to do, but often humor and an honest character can make affective advertising possible.

* A great example of affective advertising is found in the “Geico” commercials. By creating a friendly, honest, funny gecko as a spokesperson, consumers tend to trust what the gecko is saying and find humor in his actions. This creates a good feeling about the actual service “Geico” offers.

Lastly, resonance advertising is a way of identifying with consumers. If an advertiser can create a campaign that certain target markets identify with, then resonance advertising has been achieved.

* An example of resonance advertising is in “Tide” detergent ads. Many times mothers are busy doing laundry in between sports practices and driving their children around in mini vans. Their recognition with soccer moms makes “Tide” a favorite pick among women with children who are very involved in activities.


* Peter, Paul J. & Jerry C. Olson. 1990. Consumer Behavior and Marketing Strategy, 2 ed. Irwin Publishing, Boston.
* Schwartz, Shalom H. 1994. "Are there universal aspects in the structure and contents of human values?" Journal of Social Sciences, Vol. 50, no. 4, 19-35.
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