By Ben Norman

Most of the ads, seen by most people,

In most places, most of the time,

Produced and planned by most agencies,

Briefed and paid for by most brands,

Are a waste of money.

Adland legend Howard Gossage said "people pay attention to what’s interesting to them. Sometimes that’s advertising."

He’s right, but unfortunately advertising has become less and less interesting to them. In fact public favourability to advertising is at an all time low, having halved since the early 90s. (48% in 1992 vs 25% in 2018).

There are two reasons for this: people are served too many ads (6-10k per day according to some estimates) and those they are served are not good enough.

The result - £ billions are being wasted every year by brands because advertisers are favouring quantity over quality, churn over charm, efficiency over effect, information over entertainment.

But I’m an eternal optimist, and there is a slim silver sliver around this cloud. For decades we’ve known that combining emotion and entertainment leads to the most effective, unforgettable advertising, but now for the first time we can back-up gut feel with fact; we know without doubt what works, why it works, and how to create it thanks to our recent studies into how the best brands reach and retain success, backed-up by recent work from the top brains in the industry.

Think about the last ad which stuck in your mind, the ad that caught your attention and held it. Ask yourself which campaigns spring to mind when you drink a cup of tea, when you need to compare car insurance, when you put on your glasses or scoff a bar of chocolate?

For each of these scenarios, an array of fantastically effective and impressively memorable campaigns spring to mind. How many of the campaigns in your head were logical and rational in their messaging, with a clear explanation of why you should buy a product?

Instead, the unforgettable campaigns which help brands come to mind quicker and stay there longer are those which rage against the rational and reductive, aiming for fame and feeling. And they do so by focussing on a handful of key ingredients which we call The Principles of Unforgettable brands, these are the strategic pillars which form the basis of our approach…

Unforgettable brands are distinctive.

Because they know that to be noticed and remembered, they must stand out in a crowd.

Unforgettable brands are entertaining.

Because they understand that to build fame and gain attention they must put on a show.

Unforgettable brands are visible.

Because they know that if they are to stay in the mind, they must be seen.

Unforgettable brands are consistent.

Because they know that establishing their place in the mind means hitting the same nail every time.

By helping brands establish these 4 communication principles, we can rise above the rational and reductive tactical messaging that dominates today, penetrating the mind to create fame and inspire feeling.

With these Principles we can help ensure a campaign doesn’t sit in the 50% which make no measurable impact in the long term, we can prevent an ad falling into the 80% which are forgotten within 3 days, or the 91% of online ads viewed for less than a second.

And by using these Principles we can help businesses buck the declining trend in campaign effectiveness (-25% since 2008) and we can almost double the likelihood of a campaign delivering major profit gains. (31% vs 16%)

What was once instinctive amongst advertisers as an art, is now a science we can understand and formulate. There is no longer an excuse for ineffective campaigns.

For a chat about how we can help your brand become unforgettable, please get in touch at