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How To Take Creative Risks In Advertising And Make It Work

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Advertising is everywhere. As consumers, we’re bombarded with advertisements and sponsored content all day long, and we’ve become quite used to it. So used to it, in fact, that all too often it goes unnoticed. As a result, today’s brands are having to do more than ever before to get their message heard. But how do they do that, we hear you cry! Well, the answer is simple. It’s all about creativity – and a healthy dose of risk.

Why Take A Creative Risk In Advertising

Creativity and risk go hand in hand. An advertising campaign can’t be truly creative if it’s completely risk-averse. So, to produce an original campaign that amazes and astounds all those who see it, brands need to be bold enough to take a risk, and they need to understand their audience well enough to be able to predict how that risk will go down when the campaign launches.
When managed correctly, an element of risk has the power to massively improve the results of an advertising campaign, boosting engagement, organic reach and ROI. Taking a creative risk, when done correctly can have the following effects:
– Effectiveness: Creative campaigns are proven to be more effective at getting results
– Brand Love: Creativity and risk-taking helps to nurture brand loyalty
– Memorability: A risky, yet imaginative campaign is always memorable
Take a look at some creative risk-taking tips below to understand how and why to inject some well-needed risk into your next creative advertising campaign.

Taking Creative Risks That Work

Many brands are understandably cautious when it comes to taking risks in their advertising, but they needn’t be. As long as risks have been carefully calculated, and are undertaken with the target audience in mind, then the results of any risk-taking will soon speak for themselves. Take risks that’ll work for your brand using the following tips.

Cause a stir to get people talking

The idea of creating a controversial campaign might seem like the stuff of nightmares for many brand managers, but causing a stir is one way to make a real impact.
An element of controversy can be used to engage audiences, getting them talking about an important issue while simultaneously engaging with the brand in question. Inject a little creativity into how this message is conveyed, and you’re well on your way to creating a standout campaign.
AirBnB’s famous #WeAccept campaign, which may or may not have been launched in response to comments from Donald Trump, shows us how to create a stir for all the right reasons. Audiences loved it, and the company made its stance on the political issue of the time decidedly clear.

Use artistic risk to create memorable campaigns

Think about some of the advertising campaigns that have resonated with you recently. It’s likely these memorable campaigns incorporated an element of artistic risk. In fact, it’s likely that it was this risky nature that caught your attention, and made you think twice about the message of the ad.
Providing there is no compromise in terms of brand strategy, an element of artistic risk will almost always make a campaign more memorable for the target audience. And what brand doesn’t want its adverts to be remembered?
One recent campaign for Save the Children took an artistic risk to create an emotive campaign with an important message at its heart. Watch the #savesyriaschildren video here.

Create an advert that isn’t an advert

Over the years a few brands have taken the ‘advert that isn’t an advert’ idea and made it their own. While the idea itself isn’t completely original, when it’s used as the inspiration behind a creative campaign with powerful messaging, it can work brilliantly.
Take a look at Oatly’s street art-inspired posters to see how this unusual style of advertising works. As you can see, what began as a risky approach to traditional billboard advertising quickly translated into a hugely sharable campaign that got the attention of the company’s target demographic. The campaign was shared far and wide, and whether consumers loved it or hated it, they were all talking about it.

Use shock value to boost engagement

Ever heard of shockvertising? Even if you haven’t, you’ll likely have seen a fair few examples of it over the years. While the use of shock value on its own can come across as a little aggressive, when it’s paired with great creativity the end result is a match made in heaven. Some of the world’s most memorable campaigns combine the two ideas, resulting in a slightly risky but ultimately unforgettable example of advertising done right.
Think back to the famous images from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and you’ll see the power of shock value at work. The adverts showed children holding an assortment of objects. In each ad, one child has a gun, the other a seemingly innocent toy like a Kinder egg or a ball. A caption reads “One child is holding something that has been banned in America to protect them. Guess which one.” The answer, of course, isn’t the gun.

Step outside your comfort zone. Take a risk.

Taking a risk can seem scary, particularly when a lot is riding on the success of a campaign. But it’s essential if a brand is to really make an impact and get its message across memorably.
Sean Begg Flint is the founder of Position Digital, a digital marketing agency for ambitious startups and growing brands. He is passionate about purpose-driven content marketing and using outreach for good.