Monday, 2 November 2015

I Just Realised I’ve Only Taken One Holiday In The Past Year

That’s kind of depressing.


And on that note, here’s a great ad by the tourism board of Antigua and Barbuda. Great, in no small part because of its use of contrast and context.

It’s an ad placed on the walls of Tube stations. And its primary exposure, its primary audience, is with tired, restless, overworked commuters. Commuters who want to escape. People who in that moment need a holiday more than any person previously in existence. People stuck in a rut. Crammed in a crowd. Feeling physically and emotionally trapped.

So what is the ad?

Virtually nothing.

It’s a man, on a boat, by a beach, fishing. He’s just a guy, standing there, fishing by hand. He’s on his own. He’s just… chilled out.

There’s copy. It reads –

“If you fancy a little seafood then get down to the water early and look for Alex. He’ll let you know what he’s likely to catch that day.” 
“After all, there’s nowhere better to enjoy a plate of fresh fish than Antigua and Barbuda.”

It’s sweet, simple, understated writing. It makes a claim, sure. But it’s so innocuous. It’s barely there. Surrounded by aggressive, dense, energetic ads elsewhere, the ad’s sparseness is what sells it.

And it’s that contrast again.



Stressed out.


Crammed in.

Space to think.

It almost doesn’t need the words. But it’s something beautiful nonetheless.

Never forget the context of your ads. Never forget where they will appear, and why they appear there. Not every execution works in every situation.

And yes, there are myriad ways in which the context of an ad can shift from person to person, place to place. There are a lot of variables to look at. It’s not always predictable.

But putting yourself in the customers’ shoes is not just about thinking about who they are. It’s about where they are, what they’re doing at a given time – and what their surroundings do to their mood and their thoughts.

Context is important. Because when you’re packed like sardines in a Tube station, an empty, tranquil, relaxed ad – that ad makes the sell before it even speaks.

(This article was brought to you by Late Friday Night Trains Home, the United Kingdom Passport Office, and a generous contribution from Caffeinated Beverages United.)

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