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How does good advertising and marketing work? 12 basic patterns

There are hundreds of thousands of advertising messages - but only 12 basic patterns of good advertising. An overview with good and bad examples.

Whats wrong?

Some time ago I was on the street and saw this advertising poster for the civil rights movement Solidarity (BüSo) across the street. And exactly as you see it now: In other words: The headline, the picture and the call to choose “BüSo” were recognizable. Not the yellow small print.

Perhaps I will now come out as politically uninterested, but until then I was completely unknown to BüSo. I vaguely suspected that Bü could stand for citizens and So for social or solidarity. What all of this had to do with Africa and agriculture during the European elections was a mystery to me. Maybe a trick to make the viewer curious?

But for me this is not about BüSo or its content and I certainly don't want to drag it through the cocoa. In my opinion, it is much more a successful example of how poster advertising shouldn't be: namely, simply too complicated.

Less is more!

Because the party has apparently decided to press all of its complex content onto one poster. This did not result in a clear content with which the viewer could find out at a glance what the party stands for, but rather a bit of a mess:

You automatically ask yourself: is it now about agriculture, Citizens of Aid for Africa? It doesn't get any better with the fine print either: what is the Peccora Commission? Why should the auto industry of all things be converted for Africa? And investments in construction - in Europe or Africa?

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And it can be done better

As I said, it's not about the content: It would have been better to simply pin the most important keywords on a neutral background. These are keywords with which everyone can start something and everyone can see at a glance what the party stands for.

Quite simply: less is more. Especially when it comes to poster advertising. Because it is already expensive enough - and if it is Company and parties already invest in posters, these should also be meaningful and reveal at a glance, even from a distance, what the company stands for.

Little-Italy, New York

Good advertising is creative

For a change, Deutsche Bahn had a good idea: They let their service staff, who serve drinks on the train, wear T-shirts with a printed drink menu and prices. Practical, because: Customers can see straight away what the drinks cost.

That could be the solution for all pubs whose staff find it too much effort to bring their guests the drinks menu before ordering the drinks - a fact that always amazes me personally. After all, as a customer, I first have to know what is available before I can order! And above all: The cost of this extra service is extremely small, but brings great benefits!

Original promotional gifts are fun

An idea that is now old, but is still used far too seldom: USB stick shapes, for example a sushi, a car - or even a sperm! The author argues that companies should give them to their customers as promotional gifts instead of the usual, boring USB sticks with company names.

The reason is psychologically plausible: Original promotional gifts increase the memorability considerably, contribute to branding and thus ultimately increase customer loyalty. So a great idea. However, I have one small point of criticism: The USB sticks are much more unwieldy for the handbag, for example!

My sofa can already run!

However, creative advertising is not always good. And not every advertising idea can be applied to every product. Coffee-to-go, for example, is in: fast, hip, cool. Successful Marketing! Who would have thought that coffee in a mug could ever have such an image? The to-go hype can quickly become a paradox if it is transferred to other objects. Sofas for example!

Does every thing, no matter how mundane, have to suddenly be hip? There are, for example, things that you could buy to take with you when nobody was talking about cofe-to-go. Doner Kepab, for example, or - even further back in history - ice cream. Bag or mug. That's how we know it. In New York, absurdly enough, in Little Italy, they turned it into Gelati-To-Go. It's still the same, just supposed to sound kind of hip. And sounds a little strange to me in the Italian plural form, actually, every customer just wants an ice cream at first ... well, let's leave these quibbles.

Well, that still fits somehow. But I found an advertisement that I recently saw in Berlin Kreuzberg to be completely idiotic: Sofas-to-go. The idea of ​​making furniture cheaper because you don't have it delivered but take away with you is not new either. But: You always need a car for that. When I go to go, on the other hand, I always think of something that I can pick up and carry away. Doesn't work here. But who knows, maybe that is meant differently? Maybe you can put the sofa on a leash and walk home all by yourself?

Advertising failures in social media

This example shows that you can do a lot wrong with targeting online advertising. I like Italy, the food, my friends there, and Italian politics. All of this has facebook noticed - and regularly suggests italophile pages to me. That some suggestions fit, others don't - ok. Here, however, it got slightly tasteless.


Facbook suggested I like the Nutella site. Well, now, as far as I know, Ferrero does not use palm oil for its products, so there is probably nothing so reprehensible about it. However, I found the reasoning frightening: “Many who like Giovanni Falcone also like Nutella”. At least in this connection. Perhaps one or the other will still remember: Falcone was an examining magistrate in Palermo and the Italian symbolic figure in the fight against organized crime in Italy. In 1992 he was murdered in a bomb attack with his wife and three bodyguards. Perhaps it scares me because I saw with my own eyes in Naples what poverty and organized crime can do to an entire region.

Of course, I realize that the connection for Facebookthat automatically displays recommended pages is somehow logical. Nutella is from Ferrero, an Italian company, Falcone was Italian, both apparently have many identical fans. However, this is precisely where the weakness of the automated search algorithms becomes apparent for me, which simply display everything at random without a feeling for cultural subtleties - and thus, as you can see, sometimes go wildly wrong. Here would be Facebook It is advisable to show a little more cultural instinct, also with a view to global expansion, and perhaps to refine the search filters accordingly - otherwise Zuckerberg will be stuck in some fat bowl.

The 12 basic patterns of good advertising

But what are the 12 basic patterns of good advertising? Seth Stevenson watched commercials for a year and demonstrated the results in detail and illustrated his site. So good advertising follows one of these 12 patterns:

  1. Show the product
  2. Show the problem for which the product is the solution
  3. Show a symbol or analogy that demonstrates the problem
  4. Show a symbol or analogy that demonstrates the solution to the problem / benefit of the product
  5. Present the product better compared to competing products
  6. Wrap the advertisement in a good story that highlights the benefits of the product
  7. First, present a series of examples that show the advantages of the product - then explain the product at the end
  8. An expert or even more familiar to the viewer explains the product
  9. Link your own product with a celebrity
  10. Link the product to a specific situation, a specific experience
  11. Emphasize what is very special and very typical about the product
  12. To make a parody of something already known

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