Alternative marketing thinking


12 Kinds Of Ads

It all started with Donald Gunn, of the Gunn Report, and how he took a year long sabbatical from Leo Burnett to bring some sense into what he was telling his clients. As we all know, he looked at the best work from around the world, and as we don’t, put them all in neat little boxes, 12 of them in all. Gunn calls them master formats. The first category is demo or visual demonstration. The second format is ”show the need or problem”, show a problem in a consumer’s life and introduce the product as a solution. The third format is a variation on showing the problem. This time, you employ a “symbol, analogy, or exaggerated graphic” to represent the problem. The product, obviously comes in as a solution. The fourth set that Gunn found was comparison (comparisons, like these, are always from the context of the competition, unlike in the earlier ones where it is a shortfall in your life). The fifth set that Gunn reports is an exemplary story, a good example of this is the recent VW campaign ‘Safe Happens’. Benefit Causes, a story is the next grouping, is where the story would have been possible, but for the product. The testimonial is the seventh set of ads, of course we know there could be many kinds of testimonials. Use of celebrities is the eighth category. Exaggerated benefits, like in Happydent, make up the ninth set. With people having a cynical view of celebrity endorsements, associated user imagery, the 10th set according to Gunn, shows ordinary people in an inspiring way (the Amul macho ad would fall into this category, I suspect). USP, or UPP, Unique Personality Property as Gunn puts it, makes up the 11th set. Parody, or borrowed format, makes up the list of twelve. Read more from the Slate magazine.


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