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By Roberta Morris

How to make an ad campaign (and it go terribly wrong)

Last Updated 21 Feb 2023

Tears, rage and laughter have swooned around as we’ve watched last year’s ad campaigns…

But what makes a really tantalising campaign? What gets us to click through to product pages? Let’s dive into some of the best and worst campaigns that caught our eye last year.

How much money is spent on advertising in the UK?

Before we jump in, did you know…

Ads are getting better because companies are spending more. The United Kingdom spent 39 billion on advertising across multiple platforms in 2022. There has been a year-on-year increase from 2021 where the total spend amounted to 31.92 billion.

The hit of covid has unquestionably impacted advertising massively. Consequently, companies are embracing the competitiveness of the market and throwing money at their campaigns.

However, those that are reaping the rewards of smart advertising aren’t just using the ‘spray and pray’ method. They are heavily strategised and work with industry-noted professionals (like us at Assisted) to get a return on investment.

That’s not to say that you should just rejig the annual budget and throw a heap of money at advertising and expect a huge return on your investment. You need to be strategic and understand where your audience is. Furthermore, you need an actual strategist to do this for you and make sure every penny is well spent.

Statista pushes the prediction that by 2027 we will be seeing ad spending surpassing 48 billion. 48 billion on ad spend is a hefty increase. But how much are these companies making off of the back of this investment?

It seems you have to be in it to win it. Whether you’re new to the game or an old hat, the below ‘creative process’ might sound familiar.

How to make a great ad campaign

Throwing precious budgets at clever concepts is always the enchanting part of the process.

Much like the start of fantasy fiction, you’ve met with your creative agency wizards who have delivered ‘the world’s first’ or ‘your audience loves’ concepts. They’ve assured you, ‘you’ll be working with the new up-and-coming director who recently shot a viral TikTok for a sustainable holistic tech company from Austin – Azzbazz’.

They sweep you up in the whole fantastical ‘vibe’ of the ad which might go against your better judgement about inclusivity but hey – they wear tiny beanie hats and wear ‘Southface’ to be ironic – they must be on trend and know what they’re doing right?

Your trusted and more level-headed marketing team are nodding along as they boil up the company’s core values in a cauldron along with the budget set by the essential (and highly respected) goblins in finance.

There’s magic in the air at the prospect of hitting the company’s KPIs off of the back of the huge spend. Your top bosses (or more affectionately known as ‘The BFGs’) are already rubbing their hands together at the certainty of ROI.

You can see how everyone in the creative chain gets swept away in the fantasy of being groundbreaking and money-making.

Now it’s time for the fairytale ending of incredible impressions and a mega spike in sales.

How does it go so terribly wrong then?

The best and worst ad campaigns of 2022

The ads haven’t been all terrible. In fact, the ad campaigns produced in 2022 have both inspired, moved and angered us across multiple platforms.

Incredibly, some companies are able to reinvent the wheel with their ads and still pack a punch. The secret to success? Knowing where to place your ad. Not every platform works for every audience. The same message or copy won’t hit your audience the same way when read on different platforms.

Laughing in face of the ever-evolving ad space, campaigns have proven to be able to impact their audience through the intelligent placement of tweets, videos, Instagram stories, Facebook ads, walled Linkedin content and uncompromised SEO.

We applaud those who are endlessly pushing their company boundaries to establish a connection with their audience and who recognise tailoring your strategy is key.

If you’re still looking for the answer to impactful SEO, get in contact with us at Assisted today.

Shortlist of ad campaigns 2022

So here is our short list of the ‘The Good’, ‘The Controversial and ‘The Ugly’ ad campaigns from 2022. Let us know if you agree via our LinkedIn page.

The good

The Greatest by Apple 

Apple delivered one of its strongest campaigns yet with this all singing all dancing inclusive masterpiece. We praise the ad and very much enjoyed watching it on various platforms.

How to make an ad campaign (and it go terribly wrong)

It’s not only the fact that there’s such a wealth of representation in this campaign, it’s the fact it is celebratory. Apple has successfully shined a light on how integral tech is to different people in different ways.

We’re not all just tracking our steps or scrolling through Instagram. Some of us are using tech to read when we’re visually impaired or connect with our community when accessibility is commonly an issue.

The controversial

The World F*ckcup by Brewdog 

Brewdog made a statement this last year against the world cup by labelling it the “F*ckcup” and human rights were at the heart of it. Brewdog took the stance that the world cup should be for everyone and that the hosting country won the privilege through bribery as seen on their site.

How to make an ad campaign (and it go terribly wrong)

The brand heavily aligned itself with the LGBTQAI+ community and didn’t hold back from bashing the entire organisation. While we commend the bravery and message behind the expletive, we also hope this passion for gay and trans rights bleeds permanently into their brand ethos and isn’t just a marketing gimmick.

The likes of skittles and Barclays have been criticised in the past for rainbow washing. We all of a sudden see brands hob-knobbing on the coattails of Pride events to gain publicity. Time will tell with Brewdog.

The ugly

Balenciaga Bears

It’s always hard to say whether or not a brand intentionally leans into ‘shockvertising’ but judging by the quick back peddling and pushback from the likes of Kim Kardashian, Balenciaga’s BDSM Teddy Bears, weren’t meant to offend to the colossal extent that it did.

Deemed exploitative and abusive of children, Balenciaga gave us children posing with teddy bears wearing “BDSM-inspired outfits”. The fashion house has since taken full responsibility for the disturbing campaign and removed it hence why we can’t show you in this post.

I’m off to the Savoy

A totally missed judged and tonally ‘off’ TikTok video made all those shivering at home, boil with rage. While most of us were concerned about saving on the heating bill, this Tiktok star problem was solved by taking herself off to the Savoy to warm up.

How to make an ad campaign (and it go terribly wrong)

The Savoy did pretty well out of the clumsy video.

The inadvertent placement of the establishment led to fantastic PR for a younger audience who are perhaps unfamiliar with the traditional glamour of the Savoy.

We suspect there was a cheeky partnership deal going on.

https://www.tiktok.com/@tonguetiedddd/video/7169237199295139077

Your digital marketing strategy

Knowing what will actively engage your audience and which space to occupy is the key to return on investment. But you don’t have to be an expert in that.

That’s our job.

Assisted is here to help your brand be seen through digital marketing.

Let’s maximise your business performance online together. Call us today on 01788 288020