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What a clever, well-crafted ad looks like

I’ve long been fascinated by ads. They’re created by some of the smartest and best-paid people in America. Well-done ads are FREE entertainment; unlike going to the movies (back when we went to movies), you don’t have to pay to watch them.

Most of you’ve seen Superbowl ads, which range from great to so-so to, well, flops. Good ads aren’t easy to do. You have 30 seconds to tell a story, grab viewers’ attention, and sell a product. Like a good athlete or musician, a great ad writer makes it look easy. But it’s a craft, and the ads that work best usually are subtle. You don’t even notice they’re selling something.

Years ago, when TV still existed, I watched the commercials, not the shows, to study how it’s done, and developed an appreciation for the craft. The ad below works because it combines humor, our natural affection for animals, and a simple message. The photography uses bright lighting, simple props, and a carefully staged and uncluttered background. The monologue is spare. A good ad is free of distractions.

Dang if I can remember who the advertiser is or what they’re selling, but that’s often the case with memorable ads. An ad that makes you laugh is a good ad.

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