Set the scene quickly.

Unless there’s a reason to keep the listener guessing where the commercial is taking place, set the scene as quickly as you can (it will help the listener to imagine the situation straight away, and therefore understand the ad).

The last thing you want is for a listener to think, ‘Hang on, where am I? What’s going on?’

When an idea is translated into more than one form of communication or media it’s known as ‘integrated.’

In other words, it’s not just a big idea that translates within one creative area, it’s a big idea realized across many areas.

Or put simply, a Really Big Idea.

Less is more.

Find the right idea and be able to summarize it in just a few words.

Come up with a kickass brief and a good idea (which is the most difficult bit).

That is the secret to powerful campaigns, regardless of how much money you have.

Since emotions are so potent, it is important to handle them carefully when trying to create an emotionalized brand strategy.

Emotions can make or break a brand, and once a mistake is made and you have an explosion, it can be very difficult to put the pieces back together.

The stronger the emotional territory, the longer the brand impact will be – for better or worse.

Emotional Branding by Marc Gobé

The fact that so many great TV ads can work in print is a sign of their brilliant simplicity. Whether the idea was intended for print or TV is not important: it’s as if they were created as one.

Don’t reveal, imply. What we can imagine in our heads is often more powerful than anything explicitly shown, whether it’s scary, funny, disturbing or otherwise. Ask yourself ‘Do I have to show everything?’ and if not, ‘Will it be better?’

It starts and ends with the concept. The success will depend on one thing: a good idea. The tendency is to fall into the style over substance trap, or execution over concept.

Visual slickness might draw people in, but it won’t keep them there. The key question is more important than ever: will your idea stand out?

Arguably the hardest part of advertising is making the move from creating single execution one-shots to ideas that are big enough to work as a campaign, with numerous executions.

A good ad communicates its message clearly, quickly, simply, and relevantly. A great ad not only stops you, it may also make you smile, laugh, or think. And it should also either inform, provoke, involve or interact with the reader/viewer/listener.

You should be able to describe your idea in one sentence.

Different music can change the mood of an ad entirely. The right track can take a commercial to another level. Often a great ad will promote (or re-promote) a song to chart-topping status.

The ‘one frame’ goal is another form of reductionism. By definition, the simplest ad needs only one cut, or camera set-up (not including the end frame).

This is not a rule you need to place on every script you write, but it is a useful tool because it forces you to keep it simple.

Aim for as close to one frame (two or three is good, too), or at least be in a position to capture the basic idea in a single frame, as if it were a poster, even if the final ad uses more frames to improve the story telling.

A common mistake occurs when agencies and clients try to replicate (i.e. plagiarize) previously successful interactive (advertising) ideas.

The problem is that these ideas rarely compare with the original, brand-tailored concept.

Brand Jam by Marc Gobé

Avoid ‘headline repeating visual’ (‘see-say’). This is one of the most common mistakes made by inexperienced advertising students, in which part of the headline (or the entire headline) is repeating what the visual is already communicating.

An ad is a chance to grab someone and get him/her to buy your product. A line that requires a yes/no answer is always a gamble, because the wrong answer is immediately a lost sale. In this case, the ad has categorically failed to to its job.

When you create any idea for (video), ask yourself honestly: will this stand up to repeat viewing? Avoid anything that might quickly annoy and irritate (either the entire concept, or part of the idea such as dialogue or sound effects).

If consumers find something that works, they stick to it.

Once we find something that works — no matter how badly — we tend not to look for a better way. We’ll use a better way if we stumble across one, but we seldom look for one.