Good Advertising Psychology (True? Or Not?)

Although the above video represents what it considers as “good” advertising, it would be better described as “big budget” advertising and particularly “big brand” advertising.

It breaks down advertising into two camps:

  • Ads that focus on the quality of the product (thinking)
  • Ads intended to arouse an emotional response (feeling)

The above video primarily emphasizes the latter, stating “The most successful ad campaigns hardly say anything about the product itself. But instead, create a lucid atmosphere that evokes a strong emotion from its target consumer.”

As an example, it compares a 1954 perfume TV commercial to a modern one. The earlier one describes the product and how it will affect the consumer’s life. The latter one doesn’t show or even mention the product until the end. It, like many of the “good” TV commercials presented in the video examples, is primarily intended to convey a feeling. They are designed to evoke emotions the advertisers wish to engender in the viewer’s mind.


Now, it’s not that the video is wrong. The appropriate use of emotion can and does make an ad more memorable. However, the entire presentation ignores one of the most fundamental reasons why commercials work at all, including less expensive and less well-produced ads: repetition.

Repetition is putting either the brand and/or the product in front of the potential buyer many times. Of course, there is a point where the repetition of the exact same message will become fatiguing and annoying, so there is the art and science of getting the right message in front of the right prospect at the right time.

Nevertheless, fundamental to all marketing and advertising is generating awareness of your product or service and that awareness is cultivated by getting in front of the consumer a number of times.


So, what does make a “good” advertisement?

And what is the “science” part of the “art and science” of messaging and advertising?

For business owners and professional marketers, “good” advertising is profitable advertising.

That’s it.

Does it increase the bottom line of a business, or not?

Hence, the science part of marketing and advertising is using data science and “testing” (comparative comparisons of messages and ads) to find out what generates more consumer response and engagement.

And the most important responses are leads and sales.

In other words, a good advertisement, from a business perspective, generates enough revenue for the advertiser to make it worth the money. Although a “good” (profitable) advertising campaign may also inspire an emotional response, it’s not imperative.

Just think of the ads that catch your interest. Often, they are about a product or service that you already have some interest in. Even if it’s just temporarily. For example, if you need a plumber, you may not care about how well-produced their ad is. But you may care about whether they are able to help you today.

If you are new to town and need a dentist, you may be more interested in a professional office in a convenient location.

If you need a new roof, you are probably more interested in quality vs pricing. You may reach out to a local roofer, regardless that their ad is very simple. You may be responding because their message hit you at the right time.

If you see an ad for a new restaurant, you may visit because you like to try new restaurants, or just because the food they offer is something you already like or are interested in trying.

In brief, most of the ads that we may see on a given day aren’t as expensive and well-produced as the ones in the above video. But they may be more meaningful to you or me, in the moment, which inspires us to respond — and that’s what makes a good ad.