How this simple idea will improve your advertising. And you can watch an example here too

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If you’ve ever tried to create advertising you’ll know it’s not just hard. It’s very hard.

In fact Leo Burnett, one of the most successful advertising men of all time, famously said: “I have learned that any fool can write a bad ad, but that it takes a real genius to keep his hands off a good one.”

So, how can you avoid being the fool and become the genius?

You can start by using the problem / solution concept. Or in other words, work out what is the number one problem your prospects face right now – and give them a solution.

And make your solution better than your competitors. And by better, I mean: cheaper, quicker, faster, easier to get hold of, smaller, tougher, more luxurious or anything else that will make people buy your products / services over your competitors.

Sound easy? It’s not. But at least the problem / solution concept gives you a place to start creating your advertising.

Here are just two obvious examples of this concept that you’re probably already aware of:

  • Anadin: “Tense nervous  headache? Nothing acts faster than Anadin!”. This problem / solution advertising concept ran for over 30 years.
  • Specsavers. All their advertising shows the problems you get into by not being able to see properly. And their slogan “Should have gone to Specsavers” is the solution. In fact, this slogan is now commonly used be people all over the UK when someone does something obviously wrong. By the way, this does something else brilliantly too, which is get the brand name in the slogan.

But what about the example I promised you. The one you can watch right now?

It’s a Thomson Holidays TV advert featuring a guy called Simon who has, through the relentless drudgery and stress of life, turned into an ogre. But he becomes human again thanks to the restorative powers of a holiday.

The advert ends with the line “ It’s amazing what our holidays can do”.

There you have it. A simple problem / solution concept using this guy, Simon the ogre.


But the advert has a couple of other elements you should always try to use to improve your advertising.

The first is the advert grabs your attention. It’s visually unusual. Your intrigue is aroused. You subconscious is saying “What on earth is this ogre doing with this family.”

The second element is emotion. In fact, I think the advert is quite moving. We can all see ourselves turning into Simon the ogre with the pressure of daily life. And how we might sometimes look to our loved ones. Our wives and children.

Whether the advert will be a success or not is not down to my opinion. Or anyone else’s for that matter. It is down to the sales results of Thomson.

But if I were a betting man, I’d wager a few quid this will get their cash tills ringing.

You can watch the full advert here:


2 thoughts on “How this simple idea will improve your advertising. And you can watch an example here too

    Richard Beevers said:
    January 16, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Love the Thomson ad and yes it’s very emotional. Far prefer it to Thomas Cook’s featuring James Nesbitt. It’s just not credible he would take a high street package holiday. Thomson are really selling the benefits of a holiday, as opposed to their brand, and as they have such a large share they will benefit greatly but so will other operators. Perhaps Simon the Ogre will do more for Thomas Cook than Nesbitt!

      westoncd1 responded:
      January 21, 2014 at 9:34 am

      I don’t know if I’m odd, but things like that tend to stick in my head. Another example is the Premiership; which I still think of as The FA Carling Premiership even though it hasn’t been since 2001. But I think’s it’s because Carling were the first sponsor of the league. So they stick in my mind by a sort of ‘first mover advantage’.

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