A list of 16 advertisement ideas (with definition)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 9 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Brands use advertising to attract customers and make themselves more memorable to their audience. There are various types of media for which you can make advertising content. If you work in advertising, knowing some ideas can help you promote a brand more effectively. In this article, we explain what advertisement ideas are and list 16 of these which you can use.

Related: How to write an effective job advertisement (with examples)

What are advertisement ideas?

Advertisement ideas are tactics which you can use within advertising media. These can catch consumers' attention, make a brand more distinct and memorable, persuade potential customers to make a purchase and even generate press coverage in some instances. There are various media which you can use for these ideas, including billboards, television, the internet, social media platforms, radio and print media like newspapers or magazines.

16 advertising ideas

Here are 16 ideas which you can use to make an advertisement memorable and effective:

1. Humour

Creating an advertisement that's funny can make it very memorable and even cause people to share it with their friends. The challenge with amusing adverts is that you want them to be as universally funny as possible, which requires a good understanding of your target audience and their preferences. Typically, a joke that's relevant to the brand or product is a good way to do this. In some instances, a brand may make a joke about a competitor.

Related: 9 different advertising techniques and how they work

2. Puns

A variant of funny advertising is the use of puns. A pun is a play on words which is typically amusing, catchy or memorable. Brands may use their own name, product names or slogans to develop a good pun to amuse consumers. Just like humour, a good pun can help consumers to associate the brand with joy and lightheartedness, thereby generating positive associations with the brand.

3. Sponsored maps

A good way to attract consumer attention is to provide something useful free of charge. Businesses within the transport sector therefore often produce a sponsored map, which they can distribute for free or post in important areas. For instance, a taxi company which operates in a touristic city could post these maps at a central train station. The map can show the layout of the city, the location of major areas of interest and common routes. The company could add its branding to the map, its contact number for hiring taxis and even publish fares for common journeys.

Related: 12 effective marketing strategies to grow your business

4. Cultural references

A cultural reference could either involve something relevant to the area or target audience, or reference pop culture like films and TV programmes. In some cases, a brand may be able to secure the cooperation of a popular actor or musician to generate a positive association for the brand. Alternatively, it could reference something unique to the country or region in which it's advertising. This can indicate that the brand understands its target audience.

5. Discount coupons and codes

Using discounts to attract potential customers can be a very effective tactic. The prospect of saving money on a purchase can persuade consumers to choose that business over a competitor. Additionally, making the coupons time-limited can create a sense of urgency and get the consumer to make a spontaneous decision. You can distribute these coupons physically, create QR codes to scan or send codes to consumers who sign up with an email address or phone number. This has the added benefit of giving the business contact details to potentially interested consumers.

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6. Environmental adverts

This tactic typically works best for physical advertisements in suitable locations. Instead of a conventional billboard, an environmental advert incorporates elements of its environment to produce a distinct and memorable image. For instance, a business may produce a design on the floor of an area that becomes clearer the closer someone approaches. When these are attractive and well-executed, observers may take photos of them and send these to friends, thereby increasing the advertisement's reach.

7. Promotional merchandise

Promotional merchandise consists of items which have a company's branding on them. These are typically different to the main goods or services which the company sells. For instance, a car manufacturer might produce t-shirts, keyrings, pens and bags which have their logo on them. They can either sell these in certain shops or distribute them for free at events. Functional items like these can be useful to those who receive them, which means that other people are likely to see the item and therefore also the company's branding.

Related: What is merchandising? (Definition, examples and careers)

8. Competitions

A competition among consumers can generate a lot of interest because participants anticipate a reward. The reward is often a desirable good or service that the company sells, which it hands out to the winner. Photography competitions are a common example of this, as smartphones are quite common and often have good cameras. This allows a lot of people to easily enter the competition and helps to generate interest.

For instance, a company which produces professional cameras might arrange a photography contest. It invites consumers to submit their best photographs and chooses a winner. The winner may then receive a high-quality camera as a prize, or see their photo published by the brand. Companies can organise these on social media and create hashtags to boost engagement.

9. Seasonal advertising

There are multiple ways of using seasonal advertising to attract attention. For instance, a company whose products are more popular during certain times of the year might adopt this approach. An example would be brands selling warm clothing that take advantage of the onset of colder weather to make relevant adverts. There are also national, cultural or religious holidays and events which often include gift-giving, and brands can produce relevant advertising or even product variants to cater to these.

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10. Stairs and escalators

A set of stairs or an escalator can be a creative outlet for advertising. This is possible on the handrails or the outward-facing portion of each step. You can create a series of images in a sequence which makes a combined image or message, and observers can witness these as they ascend the stairs or escalator.

11. Waiting areas

Areas where people gather to wait for something can be good locations for advertising. This is because they're likely to spend some time near the advert, rather than walk past it. Examples include bus stops, train stations, tourist gathering points and even public benches. Some brands can even create a waiting area by setting up something like a charging booth for smartphones or a free Wi-Fi station.

12. Videos

Video adverts are a common and flexible tactic which you can combine with others. It's also possible to reuse them on various platforms, such as television adverts, websites, social media platforms and elsewhere. Integrating other tactics like puns or humour can make the video more appealing and memorable, making it more likely for people to share them with friends.

Related: How to use YouTube for marketing (benefits explained)

13. Music

Many brands develop a distinctive jingle which they can incorporate into various other types of advertising. They can include the jingle at the end of video and radio adverts. An original tune which has some relevance to the brand can stick in people's minds. Moreover, brands can copyright them to ensure that competitors don't produce imitations.

14. Image grids

Some social media platforms can display images on grids. Brands can use these creatively by uploading images in a sequence such that they combine to make a single cohesive image when users view the grid. This can be quite aesthetically pleasing when users discover it and can encourage them to take screenshots to share with friends.

Related: What is social media advertising? (Plus types of ads)

15. Animals

Many brands have an animal which has some relevance to their products. In some cases, the animal may have no direct relevance but act as a kind of mascot for its advertising materials. These animals can be cartoon characters, stuffed animals or computer-generated images. You can make these animals talk to the audience in certain adverts, and a distinctive voice actor can make these even more memorable.

16. Sponsored quizzes

Quizzes on websites and social media platforms can be very fun and engaging for users. A popular iteration of this is a quiz which gives the user a fun insight into themselves. You can share these on social media for users to complete and include the option for them to share the results and invite their friends to take the same quiz. For instance, a company which is promoting a new TV show can make a 'Which character are you?' quiz.

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