Advertising Principles - Evidence-based principles

Creating Ads



For a discussion of evidence on creativity, see this summary from Persuasive Advertising by J. Scott Armstrong (Palgrave Macmillan 2010).

Persuasion Principles

This section provides principles that can help you create persuasive ads. Use them to stimulate creativity in new areas as you develop an advertisement. The map gives you an overview of the areas, and the checklist provides the details for application.

Persuasion principles map

Persuasion Principles Checklist: instructions

Use this checklist as an aid to creativity by seeing what principles might be applied.

Why you should use checklists when you create advertisements

J. Scott Armstrong. June 8, 2014

Despite their confidence, experts are unable to make useful decisions when they need to know the effects of changes in complex situations (Armstrong 1980;Tetlock 2006).  This applies to doctors, engineers, military leaders, aviators, executives, and advertisers. There is a standard solution to decision-making for complex problems when good knowledge exists about the causal factors: the use of “checklists.”More 

Improving Group Process

Advertising campaigns typically involve working in groups. This can harm creativity and productivity as shown by previous research. Here are some procedures that can help enhance a person's creativity, and improve his efficiency.

Generating ideas

Brainstorming and Brainwriting

Checklist to Stimulate Creativity in Advertising

Guidelines for Problem-Solving Meetings

Borrowing ideas from great ads

After developing your creative ideas, look at previous campaigns for similar products to find additional ideas or to avoid reusing typical ideas.

Other Advertisements

Improving Ideas

Consensus      Delphi

Advice to Writers

Borrowing from the great advertisers, I offer the following advice to copywriters: 

1. Drive the advertisement with ultimate objectives.
The ultimate objective of an ad for a commercial product is profit.

2. Forget about entertainment.
In line with the previous point, the objective is not to entertain. Ogilvy said that is why great writers (e.g. Hemingway) made poor advertising copywriters: Their writing attracted more attention than the product. Put another way, the product should be the hero of the ad.

3. Do not try to be creative.
This also follows from point 1. (Rosser Reeves ,Bill Bernbach, David Ogilvy)

4. Rewrite.
Rewriting is more important than writing. Ogilvy said it best.


Time Lines (PDF)

Assessing group process

Group Functioning Questionnaire (PDF)

Group Process Checklist (PDF)  

Tools and Techniques

Tools and Techniques that are useful to those in advertising are described below. For ambiguities or mistakes on the thumbnail sketches, send e-mail to Scott Armstrong. For more on group process techniques to enhance productivity and creativity, go to Group Process.   More 

Other Resources for Developing Campaigns - Advertising slogans and taglines

Sample press release - Communications are more credible if transmitted by an objective third party

Website design - Annotated list of five useful books. 

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