The six creative templates you need to know

The six creative templates you need to know

89% of award winning ads fall into 6 patterns*

Research has identified that most ads fit just these creative templates.

These templates work because they balance ease-of-understanding with the element of surprise. A familiar framework makes it easy for consumers to quickly get your message and appreciate the creative “twist”.


McDonald’s: Easy Morning Campaign, 2013

Creative Template 1: The Pictorial Analogy

The pictorial analogy works by producing an arresting image that takes a familiar image and gives it a surprising twist, which demonstrates a consumer need or product benefit.


Volkswagen Australia: ‘Nightmare Spots’, 2012

Creative Template 2: Extreme Situation

This approach presents an unusual and unrealistic situation to emphasise a product benefit. Again the focus is on a powerful image.

carlton MID

Carlton MID: Stay a Little Longer campaign, 2011

Creative Template 3: Extreme Consequences

Similar to the Extreme Situation, except here we make the mental leap to explore the implications of using, or not using a product.

ALDI Switch Save and CelebrateCreative Template 4: The Competition

The classic direct comparison of two products to showcase definitive superiority.


DHL, 2009

Creative Template 5: The Interactive Experiment

The idea of getting people to physically interact with your ad in the print environment provides unparalleled engagement and recall.


Nicotinell: Smoking causes premature aging, 2008

Creative Template 6: Dimensionality Alteration

The rarest of the 6 templates, it alters the dimensions of the product (e.g. multiplying it and seeing what happens; or by dividing into components and mapping the consequences) or it alters time to go into the future or the past.

Using the templates in your marketing

The research that identified the templates also found that just 1 hour’s training in using the templates made a significant impact on the quality and effectiveness of advertising creative.

The research paper explores each template in more depth, proposes subcategories and reveals how to easily create ads based on each approach.

If you do that, it will help you develop the kind of surprising but easy-to-understand ads which consumers love.

Read Goldenberg et al’s full paper here.

*Goldenberg, Mazursky and Solomon, quoted in “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and other Die” (Heath Brothers, 2007).

Infographic_CREATIVE TEMPLATES_Digital


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