Duds. It doesn’t take more than a swipe of a page in a trade pub to spot them. Not duds like the clothing you wear, but duds like the 4th of July fireworks that don’t ever go off. You know, the ads that seamlessly camouflage themselves with everything else. Shiny stainless steel products, smiling operators in action, the next best “innovation” claim. Or maybe it’s the ad that tries so hard to be clever, but only turns out to be corny — yes, lots of those exist in the pubs I read.

But when you plunk down thousands of dollars on producing an ad, you want something that will do a little more for you. Something intelligent, creative, engaging — but primarily, something that works. But what does a good ad look like, and what is its purpose?

A good ad — worth the investment of your hard-earned marketing dollars — is like a dynamic hook sentence at the beginning of a novel. It’s what pulls you in and makes you want to read further, get more information, talk to someone and make a purchase. It also tells a story, packs a punch and reinforces your brand.

Yet many companies want to make sure their ads “feature the product.” There is nothing as disheartening as hearing that request from a client. Why so sad? Because that is all they will get — their product. No oomph. No attention. No power. Those ads are the kind that blend in, go unnoticed and only attract current customers (even your loyal fans are probably not that excited) or your own marketing team (“Oh, look! There’s our cool product! Doesn’t it look pretty?”).

In my opinion, the key is trust. Trust your audience to be intelligent. Trust them to be human, to like similar things and relate to the same stimulus that you do. Yes, you may be B2B, but humans generally operate businesses too.

Want to get noticed? Create a noticeable ad.

Want to snag a customer? Create an ad that lures them in.

Making an ad? Say no to boring.

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