Generating Ideas for Ads and Branded Content

Generating Ideas for Ads and Branded Content


Ever had problems when trying to come up with new ideas for your advertising campaigns or blogs? Discover how to generate ideas quickly.

Study your own product and services

Your own product and services can be the starting point to discover the best benefits to feature.

For example, Everlane decided to inform their buyers on which factories produce the clothing and accessories they sell after a many deaths in ‘sweatshop’ factories in Bangladesh revealed the horrible working conditions of those sweating their lives away for famous brands. Their radical transparency concept attracted media attention and became their USP.

Observe your competitors

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. When Mercedes made an ad to feature the stability of their magic body control- intelligent drive with a music video of a chicken dancing to a groovy tune, Jaguar answered with an ad where the chicken was consumed. The content was entertaining and allowed Jaguar to sponge off on their fellow car maker – gaining a large amount of organic reach as people who watched the Mercedes ad also watched the Jaguar ads. Find out what’s the most shared content about a topic with content discovery tools such as BuzzSumo, ahref, Outbrain and more. Otherwise, you can track competitors through social listening tools like Social Mention, Talkwalker or Hootsuite.

Find inspiration outside the advertising industry

The advertising industry is an echo chamber. Look outside and discover the countless ideas that have yet to be used. In the public space, ideas are thrown around willy-nilly, only to be discarded. Sit for hours in train stations, or relax at cafes, observing your surroundings. Visit museums and art expos. Many ads, such as this quirky Play-Doh ad, would have been impossible to make if the creative had stuck to their industry and followed what everyone else had done.

Examine the customer / user journey

Every step the customer takes to reach you can be a story as well. The enjoyment of the process, the benefits they gain from using it could be the message that sells your product. L’Oréal created a content platform called, which launched to become the 3rd most popular in terms of organic reach featuring product reviews, makeup tutorials and news. It also allows the makeup brand to experiment with how to engage with their customers in new ways – through social media, video and more.

Indulge in stories

People love stories. Characters, stories and songs can stick in our minds long after the movie ends. Who wouldn’t want our brands to be remembered? Even sponsoring a famous web-series can add goodwill to your brand. Sell stationery by singing about it. Kotex even sponsored a YouTube series, Carmilla (more than 1.2mil views), and made an entire episode featuring the cast talking about whether vampires have periods.

Get into the right frame of mind

As strange as it might be, being bored can boost your creativity. More than 10 studies done about boredom revealed the link between creativity and the disengaged mind. In one study, people were asked to finish a task after reading phone books, and the results showed that they did it better than those who were not bored (did not have to read phone books). While it’s true that we do need to actively think about creating the ad, leaving our mind to complete it passively is a viable choice. Alternatively, listen to sounds of nature to get into a more creative state of being.


Learn more:

Copyblogger – Marketing with stories

Blog article about Everlane

HBR – The creative benefits to boredom

99u Keynote: How to Storytell in a Fast Paced World

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