Why great ad creative needs great audience targeting - and vice versa

Posted by Knight Stivender on Sep 29, 2016 9:14:00 AM
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Your agency or in-house creative team just developed a gorgeous campaign destined to not only exceed next quarter's business goals but to take home an armload of industry awards.

But before you get too excited, remember that all the creative energy and talent in the world is wasted if your advertising campaign isn't targeted to the right people, deployed at the right time, delivered on the right platforms, and given the budget to be seen by enough people.

Don't be that proverbial tree falling in the woods with no one around to hear it.

By the same token, don't spend a ton of money delivering a targeted message to the right people (at the right time, on the right platforms) if you aren't willing to invest the time in creative that is designed with audience, platform and seasonality/time in mind.

Here is a great example of an integrated advertising campaign by Leo Burnett for World Wildlife Federation's Earth Hour project, which the global ad agency co-founded. Note how each message is delivered for distinct audiences and platforms.

Video spots to build awareness

This spot, "Moths", was part of the Earth Hour campaign in 2011 and received 750,000 views in its first week. It ran on television stations in Sydney as well as targeted YouTube viewers. 

Direct mail targeting office administrators, executives

This clever package asked office admins to play a tangible, visible role in the Earth Hour campaign by delivering a candle dressed in clever packaging to their offices. Note how the box is cut to resemble the office building lit with candlelight.


Print ads to build awareness

The print ads Leo Burnett has built as part of the annual Lights Out campaign are artistic and subtle. These from 2013 are my personal favorites because you have to study them a few minutes to see the message. (Use a candle. Help save the world.)


Digital messages at a specific, interested audience

This particular concept is by agency FM Delfino and I'm assuming it was behaviorally targeted and/or retargeted to visitors of other components of a Lights Out campaign. This is the sort of tactic that needs the audiences' awareness beforehand, as the "ask" is a bit nuanced. But, indeed, it's clever and effective.


What do you think of this creative? Do you think it would have been directed at you? Would you have been inspired by it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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