Successful advertising with everyday people.
The reality is that it must elicit that special marketing phrase: A call to action.
In-other-words: it needs to compel the person who watches the advertisement to spend their time and money on the service or product being advertised.
There’s a thin line between success/blandness and failure/artistic merit.
What Doesn’t Work
Here’s Carly Foulkes in a film-noir/action thriller ad
Sixty seconds after the ad finishes, does anyone remember the service?
Similarly, when twin sisters Sinem and Meltem Gulturk drop “awesomesauce” into the mainstream lexicon.
What product were they promoting?
Both of these ads had artistic merit in cinematography and writing, respectively.
One of the most successful ads when in comes to the conversion of views to paying customers is this one:
It successful because it addresses everyday people and incorporates them in a stylized manner through animation.
I was asked to help an organization called “The Heartbeat of Plymouth” (Michigan) to get the word out about their annual festival.
The reason for taking on the project is that it’s entirely run by a group of enthusiastic volunteers representing a group of area churches. The fact that they’ve set aside differences between the messages of their respective religions to focus on people and the commonality of helping people went a long way to me saying “yes.”
To seal the deal, these wonderful volunteers, each of them everyday people, have bitten off more than they can chew and have been successful!
To help them get the word out about all of the activities that would take place during their outdoor weekend festival, I focused on what would reach all of the various constituents who were involved. Music has universal appeal and the people working on the live concert portion of the event had done a clever job of incorporating local worship bands with regional and national touring acts.
Here’s the ad that we ran to raise awareness during the 6 weeks prior to the beginning of the event. It focused on the quality of the two headlining bands: I Am They and 6th Day Made. It had to be both appealing and convince viewers that the festival was something that would be fun to attend.
More importantly, I also created a follow-up video that was recorded during the actual event. Here, I focused on telling the story of everyday people who came together and created an event that was simultaneously professional while retaining the traditional atmosphere of a barn-raising event.
Storytelling through the eyes of the participants and audience that lead to a measurable increase in participation.
Also, it’s a lead-in ad for the following-years event; one which the participants can share on their social media and say: “I was there, that was me!”
The music was fun, but the people who particularly caught my attention were the three speakers found in the above videos at mark 0:18, 0:43, and, 1:06. With no preparation, they delivered compelling messages. That’s the true testament to the artists who performed and the people who attended.
Photography by Lan Deng