In marketing and advertising we hear a lot about the need to be pro-active rather than reactive. But Topical & Tactical ads are an area where one can only be reactive. A proactive T&T ad seems staged and lacking in any real originality.
So what makes a great T&T ad?
Essentially, T&T ads are a social commentary on something that has gained traction in the news. Therefore, it is vital that one is aware of what is happening in society; be this politically, economically, in the world of sport, or something as seemingly mundane as the weather.
Spontaneity is key with T&T ads. If people see an ad that looks like it’s been planned for half the year, they will most likely find it pointless and a bit naff. It’s like when people tell you a joke they’ve clearly been sitting on for a while.
Cunning cleverness and more specifically wit is possibly the most vital component to a great T&T ad. The perfect reaction you are searching for is for the consumer to read or hear the ad and then chuckle. It would indicate an appreciation of the work without going overboard. After all, most T&Ts are quite simple, so a small chuckle to oneself would be a sufficient and satisfactory response. A good creative brain is needed to be able to recognise the potential for fun in a news story, and wit is then needed to be able to transform that initial observation into something humorous that people will be able to draw connections to in their own lives.
Intelligence is also required in the media placement of the ad. Perfect placement can significantly boost impact. Ads work best when they are surrounded by the story they are referencing. An effective example of this is the ad that hair removal brand Veet created in 2008. The ad read “Goodbye Bush” and was placed under an article announcing Obama had won the presidential election and would succeed George Bush Jr. as President of the US. Witty, cheeky, clever, great!
With various online social platforms present in our every day lives, it is now easier than ever to comprise a T&T ad with great copy and creative and post it online. These ads can then be seen and shared across digital at the click of a finger. The ads then gain traction and can get picked up by professional publications. SWC Partnership recently created a T&T ad for Eurowings, the ad was created and posted within 24 hours of the news announcement of massive flight cancellations from one of their biggest competitors Ryanair. The ad received highly positive social reaction and reported upon by Bloomberg and The Drum.
As with all forms of advertising, there are things to look out for that could have a detrimental effect on the brand. Firstly, avoid T&T ads if everyone else is at it and your ad differs very little. It would demonstrate an utter lack of innovation and originality. If however you are so confident that your ad will trounce the competition, then go for it. Just make sure that confidence isn’t completely unfounded. This is particularly worth remembering if your brand prides itself on the aforementioned characteristics. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
It is also best to avoid T&T ads if they could be deemed insensitive, regardless of how current a story might be or the amount of traction it has gained. There is a fine line between edgy and controversial, and if your T&T could be considered insensitive, it could be detrimental to your brand image.