2022 Recap: Notable Trends & Learnings in Paid Social
And now (🥁🥁🥁🥁), here are 10 brands who aren’t just paying attention and keeping up, but are evolving and leading in this ever-changing landscape of creative experimentation.
Why has the 1-person-playing-2-people execution remained popular since the ancient days of Vine? For one, it’s easy to produce. Any creator can film in this style from anywhere. But doing it well is a more nuanced art. This ad is Ayesha Siddiqi’s quote, “be the person you needed when you were younger,” with product placement (and we don’t mean that in a bad way). So much humanity is packed into this fast-paced, funny, poignant, and relatable masterpiece. It is the pinnacle of what is possible for UGC work.
Hopper’s Ads Library page is a goldmine for paid social inspiration. Just about anyone with an iPhone is going to recognize the Notes app, while the “Overheard in…” format speaks the dialect of the target audience. Including prices is the icing on this layer cake of an ad.
Reality TV tears for the hook! 🪝 Dramatic but relatable, Thesis speaks to a human truth and then backs it up. We’ve found that starting with a negative and following up with a positive is a solid formula. If you’ve got that raw emotion, flaunt it.
This spot is just dripping with innuendo. In less than 1 second you know you’ll be watching ‘til the end. Innuendo works in advertising because it is a form of indirect communication - skirting platform guidelines and making inside jokes with the audience. Awkward Essentials brilliantly balances it out with direct components like the 4-step how-to explanation and CTA.
You get a smoothie! And you get a smoothie! Kencko uses a little self-aware humor to reach both its target audience (moms) and literally everyone else (unless you somehow were never a kid). It’s a delicious example of creative-based targeting that also rewards readers with a chuckle or two. Smooth.
Ah, the good old sticky note approach! This is a strategy that’s surprisingly effective for UGC-style ads. An adorable pink square, a fat magic marker, the pleasure of the peel… it all just works! They make the content feel more organic, and you can’t not read them. Admit it — you’ve read a sticky on someone else’s desk as you walked past... You can’t help it. Here, Nurx sprinkles in a little motion to help catch your eye, too!
This striking visual gets your attention right away. Inverting color schemes with negatives is a brilliant and sexy way to highlight elasticity. Plus, there is plenty of shock factor at play as sharp objects showcase product durability. Language centered around limited availability and a closing window of opportunity (”WE’RE SELLING OUT FAST”) drives buying behavior for anyone who needs additional convincing.
You know those TikTok trends that get millions of views? They’re effective in ads too. Solgaard uses the “throwing clothes” trend to stop the scroll without diverting attention away from the product featured front and center. A subtle demonstration and listed value props seal the deal. Any suitcase that keeps 229 plastic bottles out of our oceans piques our interest!
Here’s a secret: starting with “here’s my secret…” is a sure way to get someone’s attention. But you better have a secret worth sharing or you’re going to lose your audience. This ad has tips for parents that actually feel authentic, which is a must when you’re making UGC content. Anything else feels cringy because no one likes a sellout. There’s also the brilliant angle at 0:31, where we really see the product’s effect on kids. From the direct tactics to the Petite Biscuit song, we can honestly say that we Lovevery part of this ad.
This ad uses a tactic we’ve found to be very performant: starting with the negative. Drilling, cutting, blending (?) a shitty wallet definitely drives home the cons of a poorly made product. Filmed at home and edited with familiar techniques like the snap transition, the brand feels approachable. There’s also the inclusion of direct elements like testimonials and 5-star reviews. Even though they’re scrolled through quickly, they push you over the edge and into clicking the ATC button.
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