Ad Innovation: Take the Road Less Traveled

The traditional advertising market is saturated – anywhere the eye can see, it can see an ad. But now more than ever, consumers have the ability to use ad blockers to tune out advertisements and messages, wasting your hard-earned marketing budget. As a result, having a creative advertising strategy is a must.

It’s tempting to revert to old standbys in the face of new challenges, but sayings like “let’s not reinvent the wheel” are not going to sell more wheels. Current and common strategies produce predictable, if not outstanding, results. Novel, interesting, and engaging strategies can do much, much better.

Ad innovation has never been more important. It doesn’t occur without some risk, but producing novel creative campaigns can truly set your brand apart from the competition.

Why Do We Get Stuck?

Competitors often have similar advertising strategies, which makes sense when considering that efforts are rooted in insights from parallel market research. But when there is a uniform message from multiple companies across different media channels, a seemingly risky creative concept could reward us with the consumer attention we so desperately long for.

Particularly in the field of life science marketing, companies tend to follow each other. Photos of syringes, goggles, and white lab coats feature prominently in a lot of creative work – because they are safe. In this context, safe increasingly means ineffective.

Do we think our audiences cannot grasp concepts outside of this industry?

Over 40% of life science companies use blue in their logo, associating trust and collaboration with their company values. Almost every well-known blood bank logo incorporates the color red, relating their organization to passion and excitement. These tactics are familiar across the science industry because they work – for now – but there is more than one way to execute a message.

Get A Fresh Perspective

In an agency setting, we provide deliverables to our client based on their previously established brand guidelines. It is our responsibility to adhere to those guidelines.

At the same time, it’s important to develop a few bold or non-traditional concepts that still follow the guidelines, strategy, and campaign objectives. The key to executing the riskier creative concepts is understanding what types of messages will stick with your audience. We sometimes forget that our audience could be yearning for a fresh perspective.

Regardless of your final creative decision, an ad will never please everyone. Even within the most specific audience segment, where individual preferences seem identical, there will always be those who don’t believe your message aligns with their own desires – and that’s okay. But a bold or non-traditional concept will keep your brand top-of-mind and ahead of competitors that repeatedly execute standard or familiar campaigns.

Let’s Look at Merck

Last October, Merck completed their 2-year rebrand, moving away from “professional” science messaging and capturing the exciting, vibrant side of science.

Initial reactions on social media showed that people thought the rebrand was a joke, but Axel Löber, Merck head of branding and communications claims that there is method behind the madness.

Focus groups conducted in 2014 led Merck to consider a question: why is the unique, exciting, wondrous field of science sterilized by boring, stereotypically “corporate” branding? Inspired by the look of the world under a microscope, designers created abstract text letters and applied a bold color scheme. The Merck logo, text, and backgrounds are now fully based on cell forms.

The rebrand took industry and advertising gurus around the world by storm, giving Merck the exact attention they wanted during their successful rebranding from a pharmaceutical company into “a vibrant technology company.”

It has taken the industry time to warm up to the new brand, but Löber expected no less. The change carried with it some risk, but Merck’s clear understanding of itself and how it wished to be viewed by its stakeholders – a forward-thinking, young, and vibrant company – led to a branding success story.

Looking to redesign a campaign or create successful rebranding strategy for your company? Learn more about this daunting process here.

    hbspt.cta.load(469813, '766ead7f-4b3d-4dfa-84a9-c4fea223d1c9', {});