Ok, I bet you’re thinking, “Why would an agency publish this article?” And to be fair, our CCO is probably on her way to ask me the same thing.
But the truth is, there are plenty of easy-to-execute ads that anyone can create – even without a suite of designers, animators, and writers.
Over the past few years, our team has discovered 5 ad formats that don’t suck and are feasible for your in-house team to create and launch this week. Let’s talk about them!
First up, we have the Notes App Static. It’s one of my favorite formats because the familiar user interface keeps the ad from feeling sales-y. And because we typically use the Notes App for personal, private memos, it really grabs your attention when you see it out in the wild.
Making your own ad like the example from Balance (above) is super simple: Open the Notes App on an iPhone, and start typing! In our experience, it’s best to have the copy read like an actual note to self. Think natural, human language that will appeal to your target audience. And if you need to draw attention to particular lines, don’t be afraid to use bold type or emojis.
When your note is ready, take a screenshot. Yep, it’s that simple. And the possibilities within this format are nearly endless. We’ve even seen performant Notes App Statics that recount overheard conversations (as in the classic Hopper ad, below) or depict daily agendas (as in our work for Veho, also below).
Ok, keep your phone out! Time to send an awkward text to a close friend or family member, asking for a favor. To make a Belly Video ad like the one we created for Elevate (above), you’ll need a nontoxic, removable marker and…well, a belly. We often find that the absurd (when executed well) is highly performant – and the Belly Video is a shining example.
Start by filming yourself writing on a well-lit abdomen. The ideal copy is usually a provocative headline or compelling offer message (as in our work for Homeaglow, below). Speed up the footage in your preferred editing software, and you’ve got an intro that’s impossible to look away from. We recommend following up the tummy-centered start with a strong user-generated content (UGC) testimonial or some hard-hitting value propositions.
Making this ad is gonna feel counterintuitive, but it has the potential to work very, very well when done right. This format pairs an eye-catching background video with a story-based testimonial to create a hard-to-ignore combo. Take a look at our work for Elevate (above) to see how it all comes together.
To start, you’ll need to develop a simple narrative about a common problem your customers face and how your product or service solves it. Remember to keep it human, direct, and easy to follow. Once you’re happy with your story, produce an engaging voiceover and native-style subtitles.
Next, add an irresistibly captivating video underneath and consider speeding it up to maximize intrigue. The footage can (and often should) be totally random. Think of it like a gift for your audience: while they listen to the testimonial, you’ll treat them to a visual experience that gets them to watch all the way through. We’ve seen examples of this execution work well without a voiceover component, like this mesmerizing Calm ad (below).
Your office pets might not be on the payroll, but it’s time to put ‘em to work! In our experience, adding an adorable furry friend to your ads can be highly performant. Check out our very cute – if I do say so myself – work for Veho (above) if you need more convincing.
To produce a Pet Video that converts, have your cuddly companion interact with your product or message in a way that ties everything together while upping the cute factor. For example, if your product helps people sleep and your opening hook is about beating insomnia, you could show your pet taking a nap. Or you can have your pet react in a way that underscores a problem or solution, as in this simple example from Clorox (below) – where we share in the family dog’s alarm at the newly created mess.
Pet Video ads work because they call back to the one type of content that will forever organically grace our social feeds: cat videos. So now, any time we’re shown an ad featuring an adorable animal, we’re conditioned to stick around and hope for something cute to happen.
One of the nearly immutable laws of paid social advertising is this: If you write something on a toilet, people will read it – just like they did in our work for Homeaglow (above). Much like the Belly Video, this format creates an unskippable intro with its absurdity.
To create your Toilet Video, grab a removable marker (I really can’t emphasize the “removable” part enough) and jot down a headline on the nearest porcelain throne. We find that scrawling your message inside the bowl itself is most performant, but writing on the seat cover can work well, too, if you’re not feeling it. Pair this intro with a strong testimonial or key value propositions, and you’re good to go.
Love these ideas but prefer to bring in the pros? Book a call with our team! For more creative inspiration, subscribe to our Ad Creative Newsletter.