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  • Writer's pictureDeJuan Wright

All Great Advertisements Contain These Features

Updated: Jan 25

Let’s play a game. The only rules to this game is that you have to answer each question honestly, and you can't move on to the next question until you have the answer to the last question that you read. You can take all the time that you need to answer each question, but each question must be answered and answered honestly. Do you agree to play? Great! Let’s get started.

What was the last item that you purchased? What was the name of the brand that produced the item? What led to you purchasing that item? Was it something that you wanted? Or something you needed? How did you find out about the item? Where did you go to purchase that item? And lastly, did you go to the place that you purchased that item with the sole intent on purchasing the item? Or did you decide to purchase the item when you arrived there?

I know you’re probably thinking, “Dude…what’s up with the survey-type questions?”

If I was you, I’d certainly be thinking that. The reason that the game consisted of nothing but questions asking you about the details of your last purchase is because it’s a game of brand recall.

Brand recall occurs when a consumer has to think of a brand before they reach the point-of-purchase. This is important, because every brand advertisement is created with these three objectives: Create brand awareness. Which leads to brand attitude. Which ultimately leads to brand recall.

So, now that you’ve beaten the game of brand recall and know the objectives of every advertisement. Here are the features that all great advertisements contain.

A memorable Key Benefit Claim

A key benefit claim is a declaration of what a product or service primarily provides that will benefit the viewer or consumer. This is by far the most pertinent feature that an advertisement should have in order to evoke brand recall. That’s because it's the element of an advertisement that’s specifically aimed to persuade the consumer to take a desired action.

The main goal for any ad is to be memorable in the mind of the consumer. And there’s only one way for an ad (or a person for that matter) to be memorable…and that’s to evoke emotion.

Here’s a fact of life; people remember things that touch them emotionally in one way or another. Take yourself for example--I’m sure you remember where you were when your favorite sports team won their biggest game in your lifetime. And who was there for you at your last graduation ceremony.

Or where you were when you got the news that one of your favorite celebrities passed away. You could probably also recall the first time you got in trouble at school and even which school administrator that you were worried would report you.

We remember those things because they’re connected to our strongest emotions. The way to draw emotion from your audience in an advertisement is to make sure that your ad has one of these components:

  • Joy - Something that will make the audience feel better when they see it--which will cause them to act in order to get more of that good feeling. This often comes in the form of humor, inspiration, assurance, or nostalgia.

  • Fear - Something that will cause your audience to act in order to avoid an undesired fate.

  • Sadness - Something that the audience feels is wrong and can be made right through their actions.

A memorable key benefit claim could also come in the form of a new tagline. Whichever method used, in order to be truly memorable--an advertisement must touch an emotion.

A Remote Conveyor

A remote conveyor is an attention-grabbing hook that articulates the key benefit claim in an advertisement indirectly. What makes a remote conveyor so effective, is that it shocks the audience through the element of surprise--while also conveying the key benefit to the consumer.

An example of a remote conveyor in an ad could be a commercial for Ford pickup trucks with an elephant walking up to a truck, then standing on the bed of the truck to show just how roomy and strong the bed of the truck is.

The remote element of the commercial would be the elephant. Because it doesn’t fit the typical settings for a truck commercial. So it would instantly catch the eye of the viewer. The conveyor would be the elephant getting on the bed of the truck, and the truck withstanding its size and weight.

Remote conveyors are designed to catch the attention of an audience, while articulating what’s in it for them to take a desired action.

Another example of a remote conveyor would be the ads for Trix, where the rabbit wants the cereal so bad that he doesn’t care that it’s for kids. Those ads are great because the remote (the rabbit) conveys that the cereal is so good--that although it’s created for kids, he can’t resist it. Pretty clever, right?

A Cultural Statement

The goal for an ad isn’t always to sell a product or service. Sometimes, the goal for an ad is simply to shape perception in society. In fact, some of the most impactful ads are those that have no intent to sell anything; and have no direct benefit for the consumer. The purpose for these ads are simply to make a cultural statement that leads to awareness.

However, in order for the ad to be considered great…it still has to be memorable.

One of the most memorable ads of all-time is the ad featuring the animated "Rosie The Riveter," with the caption “We can do it.” This ad was impactful because it represented the women that worked in factories and shipyards during World War II. The ad resonated with so many people because it represented the fact that women could do jobs that were perceived at the time as being only for men. Thus, representing gender equality.

The ad was so impactful, that "Rosie The Riveter" went on to become a symbol for the Women’s Liberation Movement.


Every advertisement has a purpose. And as previously stated, that purpose is to evoke either awareness, attitude, or recall. The best way to do that is to make sure the ad is memorable. Here’s one last game, think of the most memorable advertisement that you saw growing up. Which element listed above did it contain? The answer to your question is what helped to make that ad great.


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