don draperThis is a guest post by Don Draper, formerly Creative Director at Sterling Cooper and now partner at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and star of the AMC hit TV show Mad Men.  Don is also a guest speaker on Mad Men: The Webinar.  

(He won't actually be on the webinar since he's fictional, but trust us, it will be fun to pretend!)

I have been asked to write this guest article to share my advice on marketing and advertising.  From my experience working on many large advertising campaigns for some of the most valued brands on the planet, I can distill the basics down to the following 3 guidelines.  Of course, you really should leave advertising to the professionals at an advertising agency, but perhaps these tips will help you evaluate the agency you are currently working with.

Know thy customer.

The first step in all great advertising is to know your customer.  What does the customer want, feel and think?  What do they aspire to be?  What is their deepest, most secret desire?  This is the emotion you need to tap into as an ad man.  This Gordon’s Vodka ad taps into the deep aspiration of most men to be strong and independent as well as hip and modern.  What do the man and the hawk have to do with the vodka?  Nothing at all.  That’s not the point.  We’re associating the vodka with being independent, strong, and hip by putting the vodka next to a man who is clearly all of these things because of the visual communication.  Knowing what your customer wants is the first step in great advertising.

Gordons ad 1960s resized 600
Image Credit: 1960s Ads

Boil down the message.

"Make your move" - That is the main message in this Chrysler ad.  The core message here is about individuality, and that buying a Chrysler makes you your own man.  The advertisement could have been a lot more complicated, with different images and trying to convey all the ways that the car helps to feed your desires to be an individual and to be different.  Many ads from earlier in history communicated long and complicated messages using a lot of text.  More modern advertising has shifted to communicating one simple and clear message, essentially associating any product with just one word.

chrysler ad 1960s resized 600
Image Credit: 1960s Ads

Engage the customer.

Using visual images to stand out is important.  The other ads do this quite well - as does this ad from Monroe adding machines.  You would most typically expect this machine to be on the desk of a secretary or accountant inside a somewhat dark office.  However, this ad shows the adding machine outside, against a backdrop of modern skyscrapers and an exceedingly happy secretary.  The images are not expected and engage the customer, encouraging you to look longer and comprehend the deeper message in the advertisement.

monroe ad 1960s 

While times may have changed in terms of how we communicate (I just saw someone making a phone call while walking down the street... fascinating!) the core of knowing your audience and communicating a message succinctly through text and images transcends technology and is at the core of good advertising.

I hope you will all join me and HubSpot for Mad Men: The Webinar where we can discuss these issues further.  I am told you will all be able to see my overhead slides and hear my voice, so it should be quite a barn burner.  See you there.

Don Draper

Mad Men: The Webinar

Mad Men Webinar
How has branding evolved since the Mad Men era? Join this free webinar to find out! Date and time: Friday, July 23, 2010 at 1pm ET Reserve your spot now!

Originally published Jul 21, 2010 8:00:00 AM, updated July 03 2013


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