Thursday, September 16, 2010

Problem/Solution Format (Advertising)

Capitalizing on a meme can be a good way to kick-start your creative process, but it shouldn't replace creative thinking. Unfortunately it did with Microsoft's Double-Rainbow advertisement, seen below:

Double bland indeed.

This is an example of the overused problem/solution advertising format.  You set-up and dramatize a problem in the first 20 seconds of a spot, and then use the last 10 to show how the product provides a solution.

I loathe this format.

It's an easy way out when you can't think of a way to integrate the message throughout the spot.  And the worst part is that problem/solution ads often have so much potential to be great.  They always start with a memorable idea, but they end falling back to the pushy salesman of yesteryear.

Nine times out of ten, the formula creates an ad that is cheap, unoriginal and jarring.  The solution gets overdone and the ad ends up feeling cheesy.  For example, the music in the double-rainbow ad.  Was that really necessary?

Here's an example of problem/solution done well.  It's the famous FedEx 'box' commercial.  The reason it's so well done is because the ad doesn't rely on pushy sales techniques.  The spot ends with a low-sell voiceover solution, allowing the problem to take the spotlight.

More Problem/Solution Examples
Canadian Police Chase : Midas starts out strong with a humorous problem but then cops-out with a bland solution.
Rogers - Elevator : A slightly different take.  Rogers dramatizes the solution instead of the problem.  Really cool execution here.
Snickers with Betty White : I'm not completely sold on the strategic element of this ad, but the spot is well done.

Want more?  Find me over at Restless Creativity.

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