The 5 Essential Elements of A Killer Ad

May 29, 2023 8:29 AM

Greetings, creatives! It's your favorite digital marketing hub, Helix House, coming at you hot with nuggets o’ wisdom meant to morph your basic ad into the LeBron James of the advertising world: a true slam-dunk (sorry, I couldn't resist).

Today, we're pulling back the curtain on the five magical elements that transform an ordinary ad into a marketing masterpiece. Read on to learn how to take your ad from a half-hearted strum on a ukulele into a rock concert that would make Mick Jagger proud. 

1. Simplicity: The Art of Minimalist Mastery

Let's start with a bit of wisdom from our ancestors of design: the best ideas could fit on the back of a napkin. The key takeaway here isn't to start hoarding restaurant napkins, but to embrace the simplicity they represent.

The ad space isn't a battlefield where you're fighting against the clock to jam in as much as possible. Instead, it's more like a Zen garden— where each rock and each raked line serves a purpose. This is the soul of the "Less is More" philosophy.

Your ad elements, whether it's the foreground, mid-ground, or background, should all serve a clear purpose and tell a cohesive story. A story that doesn't need a brass band and fireworks, but captivates with its straight-forward simplicity.

2. Call To Action: The Heartbeat of Your Ad

Let's think of your ad as a field general, guiding its troops (the consumers) towards a specific mission. That mission is your Call To Action (CTA). Now, your CTA isn't just a friendly nudge or a gentle hint. It's a persuasive, resounding command that says, "Hey, do this thing that we want you to do!"

But here's the twist: the CTA must also carry the essence of your brand. It's like a special blend of spices that gives your fries their unique flavor. The CTA is the culmination of your ad's story, the grand finale of your theatrical performance. So, it's essential that it not only compels action but also resonates with your brand's personality.

For example, a client of ours (whom we adore!) is a snack subscription company called MunchPak. The brand is colorful, playful, and just plain fun. CTAs for this specific brand encourage the consumer to do things with joy. With ease. With a smile on their face. A specific CTA that has worked for them lately is, “Sail Through a Sea of Snacks.”

The hyperlinked CTA brings the customer to MunchPak’s store, where they can buy a one-off of whatever snack they loved most in their subscription box. “Sail” works because MunchPak’s whole shtick is that they deliver snacks from around the world. Doing business with them is an adventure. The whole CTA is interesting and paints a picture — making it perfectly on brand.

Now, for one of our HR outsourcing clients, that specific tone nor language would NOT work. 

So, when it comes to CTAs, really use your noggin’ here. It’s more than important — it can totally make or break your ad. 

3. Copy: The Captivating Storyteller

Imagine an ad as a beautifully crafted indie film. The design offers the lush visuals and stunning cinematography, but the copy? That's the evocative, unforgettable soundtrack. It's the subtle notes and powerful crescendos that weave an enchanting narrative, echoing the spirit of your design.

The copy is the voice of your brand, whispering (or sometimes shouting!) your unique story into the consumer's ear. It's the tour guide on this visual journey, illuminating the path and highlighting the landmarks. So it's vital to craft copy that harmonizes with your design and strikes a chord with your audience.

4. Color, Shape, Space, and Visuals: The Signature Style of Your Brand

Remember when we used to play that game, matching colors with brands? "Red and yellow? Oh, that's McDonald's! Green and white? That's Starbucks!" This childhood game encapsulates the immense power of a consistent visual identity. Your brand's colors, shapes, space, and visuals are its unique fingerprint.

These specific details are the distinct signature style that makes your brand immediately recognizable in a sea of competitors. We know the difference between Five Guys and Burger King. Just like we know the difference between Dairy Queen and Culvers.

These elements are your brand's superhero costume - the Superman cape, the Batman mask, the Wonder Woman tiara - that set it apart. So, it's crucial to create a visual language that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also consistently represents your brand.

5. Harmony: The Spectacular Symphony of Design

Last but not least, we arrive at the grand finale of our ad design opera: harmony.

Harmony isn't just a concept for a choir or a balancing act in a Cirque du Soleil performance. It's the enchanting equilibrium that emerges when all your design elements dance together in unison — creating a masterpiece that's greater than the sum of its parts. Kind of like those ladies that dance in swimming pools. 

Picture this: your elements living together like the cast of "Friends" in their New York City apartment. They're all different, they have their individual roles, but together, they create a unique and beloved universe. This is design harmony. It's the synchrony of your color scheme, visuals, copy, and CTA, all coming together to paint a stunning picture that tells your brand's story.

Harmony is what makes your ad feel complete, well-rounded, and aesthetically pleasing. It's what makes consumers feel comfortable and engaged with your ad, rather than feeling like they're looking at a hodgepodge of unrelated elements.

It’s An Art

In the grand scheme of things, creating a killer ad is an art. It requires you to wear many hats – the minimalist, the commander, the storyteller, the stylist, and the conductor. And while juggling these roles can seem daunting, remember that with these five essential design elements, you're well on your way to creating ads that don’t just sell— but also tell a compelling story. The story of your brand, your vision, and your unique place in this cosmos of creativity.

Here at Helix House, we believe in your creative genius, and we can't wait to see the killer ads you'll create. And while we don’t mean to sound arrogant, we're pretty damn good at the ad thing ourselves. In fact, we’ve won awards for it. If you’re in the market to make a ton of money through advertising, let us know. It’s kind of our thing.

Until then, keep it simple, keep it compelling, and keep it harmonious. Happy creating, folks!