What's this I'm
watching? The elements
that make up an ad
In the last chapter we saw that the way an ad speaks to us affects our processing of it--that news is processed differently to reminders. Ads vary enormously even though their basic elements are much the same: sound, voice, music and pictures. A brand like Coke will often have several different ads exposed in the same week. The message is usually the same but the ads may all be executed in different ways. As we have seen, the way the executional elements of an ad are blended can help determine which of the consumer's mental processes become engaged and which do not.
The art of the creative departments in ad agencies is traditionally intuitive rather than encoded in any set of well formulated principles. Articulating what makes for creative success in advertising is an underdeveloped science and even more especially when it comes to analyzing the individual elements of an ad. This chapter draws on advertising findings and the principles of psychological processing that are gradually coming to light to further our understanding of how the executional elements of an ad do, or don't, work.
It is important to note how the elements of an ad can interact--music with visuals, perhaps, or words with visuals. For example, consider the statement: 'The stripes expanded'. We can't process it effectively. What does 'the