Ads get in the news

Creative agencies relish the opportunity to develop tactical ads for clients, off the back of news and current events. And newspapers offer the perfect platform for such ads. Newspapers are timely, editorially driven, and offer the most relevant contextual environments for ads that tap into what’s topical.

Ikea is an advertiser who looks out for opportunities to leverage what people are talking about, and they know they can afford to play a little with their brand. June 2010 proved to be a big news month … with Julia Gillard deposing Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister of Australia. Ikea took a simple and irreverent approach to what was otherwise a serious and complex story. Here’s how their ad appeared on the page.

Testing the ad through our creative benchmarking study, respondents awarded the ad significantly high scores for category differentiation, being interesting and demonstrating a high level of cleverness and memorability. In fact, this ad is currently the highest scoring ad in our 435 plus ad database for respondents agreeing that this ad “is clever”. The ad worked well at driving brand affinity as well as generating reappraisal. ActionMap results showed this ad was a hot topic itself … generating significantly high scores for driving word of mouth.

This ad for Jetstar took on the same topic, but didn’t generate the same level of positive results as the Ikea ad.

Unfortunately, respondents reacted negatively to the image used, with lower than average scores for “has a great photo/image”. The ad did achieve significantly high scores for affinity, but disappointingly, it didn’t generate a strong call to action.

Some clues as to why the results are different can be found in respondents’ verbatim comments. Overwhelmingly, words used to describe Ikea’s ad included “funny”, “clever” and “relevant”. Words used in relation to the Jetstar ad were more negative e.g. “disrespectful, “cruel” and polarising comments such as “Jetstar does itself no favours aligning with losers” and “I guess most people would want a break after being stabbed in the back”.

With the Ikea ad, respondents were able to look at the ad on its own merits, but found it difficult to assess the Jetstar ad in the same way, and not bring subjectivity to bear. While Ikea used the events of the day to be humorous and constructive, the Jetstar execution brought the issue to front and centre in a way that jarred with respondents and didn’t resonate as true to the Jetstar personality.

Topical newspaper ads can work well to gain attention as part of a tactical play. But for best results, stay true to your brand, and avoid polarising your audience by getting too close to the issue at hand.


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