SRH | What does empirically good creative look like?
Empirical Marketing

What does empirically good creative look like?


Over the past two weeks, we’ve shown how and why great creative is crucial to growing your brand. So how do we empirically measure good? And how do we get to good?

Here are four proven metrics to measure advertising effectiveness:

  • Attention — people notice the ad

  • Recall — people remember the ad

  • Association — people remember your brand

  • Clarity — people remember the message

6 3 Donut Recall 2sm

These might sound obvious, but a lot of marketing does not do this very well.

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For example, only 46% of consumers can correctly recall TV and streaming ads, according to Statista. Recall drops to 9% for ads on websites, which is something we’ll talk about in a future Dispatch.

And what does good creative look like? How do we get an ad to stick in someone’s head? As always, the mind is still the most important search engine. Memory matters and mental availability moves market share. 

Distinctiveness. Your entire ad, down to wardrobe and lighting, should look like your brand. Target, for example, is very disciplined about this. Ideally, people should know it’s you within the first three seconds of your ad … whether your logo is there or not. So use your Distinctive Brand Assets.

6 3 Creative Effectiveness part 3 Target

Plenty of Target ads are set in stores, but they’re brilliant at using DBEs outside as well.

Emotion. As we saw last time, ads that move us, make us laugh, make us cry, inspire us and entertain us are far more effective than dull ads.

This ad, and Cadbury’s entire “Glass and a half in everyone” campaign in the UK, has been wildly successful.

6 3 Creative Effectiveness part 3 Cadbury

Focus. Tell a simple story with a clear message and a compelling character. You can still tell a wonderful story, even if your ad focuses on features and benefits.

6 3 Creative Effectiveness part 3 Apple

Time. There’s no evidence that ads “wear out.” If anything, they “wear in” as people become familiar with them and grow to like them over time. If a campaign is truly great, it can run for yearsdecades even.

6 3 Creative Effectiveness part 3 Dos equis

And yes, this applies to B2B ads. All of the principles of Empirical Marketing apply to B2B.

As an agency, it’s our job to deliver bold, effective, creative work. Because the biggest mistake you can make as a brand is putting something out there that doesn’t get noticed or remembered.

Next time you find yourself craving effective ads, brand growth … or even a donut, please do recall SRH. We’re always happy to chat.

See you next time.


Let’s Make This More Interesting, episode 13” - Adam Morgan

Results and a half: How generosity paid off for Cadbury” - WARC

"Consumer Ad Recall in Media" - Statistica