Remember Jake from State Farm? Remember that billboard you saw with the giant cow on it telling you to “eat mor chikin”? Remember the commercial with the dogs and cats looking lonely and neglected with angelic music playing in the background? Odds are you answered yes to most of those. There is just something about them. You saw them once or twice and they have been stuck in your head ever since. Maybe you thought you completely forgot about them, but once I started describing them the advertisement came right back to you. The average human’s attention span is eight seconds, which is not a very long time. To top it off, that number has been steadily decreasing over the years. That means there are just a few seconds standing in the way of grabbing the attention of your audience, keeping it, and making a lasting impression. There are many reasons your advertisement might grab someone’s attention, but the trick is keeping it and making it stick. Knowing what ways engage your target audience and what goes into creating an effective advertisement is important. So, the million-dollar question is, what makes advertisements eye catching?
Fonts and Colors
There are multiple components that play a part in forming any type of advertisement to create a memorable experience for the audience. Two of those are fonts and colors. It’s a common misconception to think commercials, billboards, signs or social media posts just slap on whatever colors they feel like that day. Thought, research, and strategizing all go into the decision of what colors and fonts to use. Colors and fonts have an emotional connection to the viewer. Images, colors, and fonts used all evoke a certain emotion upon looking at them. “Colors and emotions are closely linked. Warm colors can evoke different emotions than cool colors and bright colors can create different feelings than muted colors. It all depends on how the psychological effects of color are being used.” Everything you’re looking at on an advertisement likely wasn’t chosen by random. You feel the emotions that you do because that is what the marketers or company wanted you to feel. For example, yellow evokes optimism, happiness, and energy while grays and blues might convey more calm, tranquil, and peaceful emotions. A company that sells bounce houses certainly wouldn’t want people to feel as tranquil or peaceful as a company that sells lounge chairs or beds which means they would approach their visuals differently and incorporate different colors to present to their audience. To put it in a creepier way…they kind of have the power to control your emotions and how you feel looking at their advertisements.
Pictures, videos, infographics, and any other visuals create engagement with an audience. Images are more memorable than written or spoken word. This is something called the Picture Superiority Effect. One of the goals of an advertisement is to be memorable, which results in raising awareness and potentially gaining more customers. Information accompanied by visuals or images of any kind are likely to be remembered 55% more than that of just words three days later. Not sure how to capture everything you want to say in words? That saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” could do just the trick. This is not only limited to pictures, but videos as well. Commercials and promo videos leave a lasting impression in our heads for a longer period of time than a radio ad might. The combination of site, sound, and maybe even an emotional response triggered by the images, colors, and sounds will have you humming that catchy tune or reenacting the humorous commercial days after you’ve seen it.
Perhaps the biggest reason we remember something is because we have an emotional connection to it. What we see and hear resonates and triggers an emotional response in us. Have you watched a commercial that made you cry? Looked at an image that brought back memories of the good old days? Or maybe read something that inspired you? It’s those kinds of connections made in an audience that they relate to and continue to remember just because it triggered an emotion in them. This ties into the use of specific colors to further that emotional connection between the viewer and the brand. Being relatable is an important way to have an impact on your audience so they automatically connect with you. If your audience feels like they know you personally or have things in common, they will be more inclined to further their relationship with you. Music is a big way to connect with people and play off emotions. In fact, that’s the reason singer/songwriters are so popular. They create songs that listeners relate to or like the way it makes them feel when listening to it and they remember that. The same goes for music choice in commercials, radio jingles, promo videos and other forms of advertisement. Add that with the words, images, colors, and fonts being used and that’s a delicious recipe for memorable content.
Commercials, billboards, radio ads, social media posts, we come across all of them on a daily basis. Without even realizing how it happens we get jingles stuck in our head, we repeat lines from commercials like it’s a second language. Sometimes it even gets to the point where we consider ourselves fluent in commercials. Creating something memorable with fonts, colors, images, and sounds that speak to your audience about you, all combine to create a memorable experience. An experience that lasts well beyond just the first time your audience sees it.