Nov 18

Giving Thanks to Advertising

By going out on a limb and avoiding the obvious with your advertising you can make a big difference in retention, plus set your store apart from competitors.

You see, nothing builds brands quite like “cool.”  How am I defining cool?  In this case, “cool” is a concoction of smart/clever with a dash of unexpected, a pinch of the unusual, and a sprinkling of fun. And cool is all about simplicity – there is no instance where the idea of “less is more” is more applicable than in advertising. 

Every once in a while, I see an ad that reminds me why I got into the creative end of marketing. And why I stay.  This happened the other night.  I saw an outdoor board on my commute home that had a strong effect on me. In fact, several days later, I am still thinking about it.

It’s not that it had a deep message that got under my skin. It was just that it was…cool.  And given the fact I am still thinking about it, a cool ad  with amazing retention.*

* Advertising retention is the percentage of consumers who recall a specific advertisement or brand even after exposure to the advertising has ceased.

The outdoor board was for a grocery store and featured a close up, overhead shot of a roasted turkey. The legs of the turkey pointed up at the sky over a white background. Instead of the legs having paper-frilled booties at their ends, they had white gloves, the fingers of which had been folded into the “rock on” symbol.  And that’s it, just the “rock on” turkey and the store logo.


The image was so powerful and original that it was burned into my retinas for some time after. I could close my eyes – after I got off the highway, of course, and still see it. In addition to the original visual take on the turkey, there were further aspects of “cool” to be seen in this advertisement – or, not to be seen, in this particular case.  What was not there – was just important as what was. There were no words, no background images, nothing that could compete for attention with the turkey and the store logo. The unmistakable take away, even without words, was – “We’re celebrating Thanksgiving in a big way and we have good-looking turkeys like this one so you should buy yours here.” Yeah, I got all that from one mage, and trust me, I’m not the only one.

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Seeing this board hasn’t just made me have a more favorable attitude toward this particular stores – for having the guts – that’s right, guts – to do something fun and original, but, it has also inspired me to keep working for that kind of powerful imaging in my own advertising career, and it should inspire you when thinking about advertisements for your store or business.

My message to you? When it comes to your advertising, don’t be afraid togo out on a limb.” That’s where the fruit is.  Cranberry, maybe.

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