What is the best way to create a great bank or mortgage ad?

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Answered by: Bruce, An Expert in the How to Create Ads Category
The best way to create a powerful bank or mortgage ad is to start with an on-target Creative Workplan. This one-page document describes the Key Message, the Audience, the Goal of the program and other items important to a successful bank or mortgage Ad. Once these items are agreed upon, I do research and brainstorming to determine the best "out-of-the-box" strategy for communicating the client's Key Message in a compelling way.

I find that the use of the Creative Workplan allows the client to refine the input and make additions or changes before too much time and effort has been wasted on off-target layouts or ideas. I have used this process for over 15 years in advertising and sales promotion, and have always had good results in providing the client with work that is both effective and on-target.

I always explain to a client the importance of using one message for one ad. Less really is more, and when an ad features multiple messages, it often gets busy and confusing for the reader. This leads to an important point: Often the client can benefit from more than an ad. What they really need is an ad campaign. In this case, we examine the client's Key Idea and the Goal of the Program, and create an ad campaign made up of three or four ads that all have a "family look." This allows the client to keep the messaging very clear, while giving each part of the Key Idea a prominent and uncluttered way to appeal to the reader.

Another important part of creating a great bank or mortgage ad is to become familiar with the institution's current messaging efforts and brand look. It is important to me to view our ad as an extension to the bank's brand image. And supporting that image with new thinking is important to the big picture the bank is creating for itself. As a designer of branding programs, I understand the importance of graphic continuity and tone, and try to bring that into every project I complete.

Finally, it is important to determine the ways that the success of an ad campaign will be measured. Is the client looking for direct responses? Are they looking to support additional sales efforts that are under way at the time the ads appear? Do the sales people need collateral materials to tie into the ad campaign? Are there other elements like a supporting webpage that can be linked in the ad? I always try to look at the big picture and make sure that we have left no avenue uncovered when it comes to the success of the ad. Something like a postcard, a simple brochure, or even a premium item can go a long way to support the sales message that the campaign presents.

For different Bank of America campaigns, I've used magnifying glasses for a Sherlock Holmes theme, four-inch long, compact pens for a campaign that involved a MINI Cooper, and wooden train whistles for a sales retreat that had a passenger train theme. These items extend the basic concept of the campaign and help to boost the share-of-mind and uniqueness of a bank or mortgage ad.

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