Advertising? Why Three Creative Executions Are Essential

Leadership with education
Messaging in concert with delivery must engage to activate the desired consumer behavior.


Editor’s note this is the first part of a two part series.

Why are three creative executions essential? If the objective is to maximize sales of a product or service it’s paramount to engage consumers within their relative position in the buying cycle. Let’s begin with the three core “consumer” states:

  1. Current consumers
  2. Not-yet-consumers
  3. Ex-consumers

Starting with these consumers states I’ve identified nine key basic marketing strategies to consider outlined in the chart below:

State of the Consumer
Current Consumer


Continue consumption at the current rate Buy my brand or product Come back to my brand or product
Don’t switch to a competitor    
Don’t switch to a cheaper product of my own brand    
Increase your consumption from your current level    
Upgrade your consumption to a more expensive product    
Increase your consumption to include other products from my same company    
Become a brand ambassador: tell others about my brand in a positive way    

There are different messaging strategies, of course, but ultimately your strategy would probably fit into these nine “buckets”

Right off the bat, I would ask three questions:

  1. Does having three states of consumers matter?
  2. Can I do something about it?
  3. Is it cost-effective to do something about it?
#1 – Do the three stages matter?
In my view it’s a resounding “yes” and here’s why:
  • First, no brand, product or service can grow by staying static, at some point you are going to lose customers, so you also need to get new ones to replace the lost ones and to grow your sales.
  • Second, while I haven’t seen any huge piece of research on this, my thesis is that messaging that appeals to a current consumer won’t appeal to either an ex-consumer or a not-yet-consumer.
  • Third and most importantly, by now, almost everyone has been exposed to everything. So by now, chances are, your ex-consumer and your not-yet-consumer have seen your message AND it has not persuaded him/her.
Media Mix, Exposure, Persuasion

At the core, every medium behaves the same way: a disproportionately small number of very heavy or loyal viewers get a disproportionately large number of impressions.

Consider a typical FMCG strategy with a high percentage of it’s advertising allocated to television:

Avg. Freq.
Avg. Freq. Top 2 Quintiles
Avg. Freq. Bottom Quintile




































The 40% heaviest viewers typically get 70% of the GRP’s so that, by years end, they have seen your message anywhere from 37 to 54 times. At the same time, the lightest 20% of viewers typically get 5% of the GRP’s so they have seen your message only 5 to 8 times in a year.

And, even if you have different creative executions, chances are most of your messages will be aimed at current consumers. Having different messages makes sense from many angles.#2 – Can I do something about it?

When I first started with this idea, the answer was NO. There wasn’t much anyone could do:

  • Television (Broadcast & cable) could not be neatly segmented to run different creative
  • There was no other media that could rival TV
  • There was no way to test results

Luckily, the media explosion of the last decade has given us plenty of choices, which can be measured, fine tuned and changed as needed.

In order for this to make sense, a medium would have to be:

  • Targetable- There must be a way to segment the specific group we are interested in
  • Self Contained- Ideally you would want the audience of that specific medium to be highly contained with minimum spillover
  • Trackable- We need to be able to measure some results directly in that medium
  • Scalable- Whatever we learn needs to be transferable to other media
What’s available?
In just looking at video (television is still by far our main ad medium) we have several possibilities:

  • Cable: there are now enough cable networks that are different enough that we can not only target more precisely, but also be more or less assured of their audience exclusivity.
  • Online video – which can be segments and self-contained.
  • Netflix – which runs original TV-like programming
  • YouTube, Vimeo and other video channels
  • Mobile video

In the last four, it is easy enough to at least get a sense of what’s working be it through clicks (CTR), time spent or, better yet, request for information from an interactive component. Naturally, there is much more and a flanker campaign can be developed using only the web, or mobile or a combination of these media. But, bottom line, it can now be done.

In the second and final part of this article we’ll examine how this will all work in actual real life situations.

Additional articles:
It’s All About Persuasion, Isn’t It?

Give Direct Marketing for Small Business a Serious Look

What Do Rodney Dangerfield and B2B Advertising have in common?


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