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Outlaw news: The message of an ad

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By Katie Morrison Outlaw Partners Operations Director

In ad messaging, the rule of thumb is to keep it simple. The first goal of an advertisement should be to create an emotional response from a consumer to a product, service, or message.

Think of the Got Milk? campaign. Rather than an ad describing the health benefits, the taste and the origin, it focused on two things: the product and the consumer. In those two words, it created a direct relationship with a simple question.

The second goal should be to incite action. This doesn’t need to be done through a lot of text; in fact, in our short attention span world, it’s better done through subtle cues. Got Milk? insinuates the reader should have milk without overtly saying so.

Third, ads should limit the messaging, as to not confuse the consumer. Using the same example, if the ad campaign said, “Got milk, butter, cheese, yogurt and ice cream?”, it wouldn’t have the same impact and would have lost the consumer on the second item.

While not every product or service is so universally known to warrant such brevity, the info graphic at right has are some questions and suggestions to consider when advertising, to keep your message clear.

What specifically do you want to promote?

• General brand awareness?

• A time sensitive special?

• A focus on a particular aspect of you company?

• An introduction of your company or product?

Keep the message simple.

Who is your audience?

• Tourists?

• Locals?

• Youth?

• Families?

Design your message to elicit a response from your targeted audience.

What action would you like potential consumers to take from the ad?

• Buy your product?

• Research your product on his or her own?

• Ask you for more information?

• Refer another consumer to your company?

While the end goal is always to create more business, it’s best to think about how it applies to your particular product or service. Items such as milk can be an impulsive purchase, but high end products and professional services often require multiple touch points, more in depth research and a stronger consumer emotional connection prior to purchase.

What emotion are you trying to incite?

• Security?

• Excitement?

• Confidence?

• Happiness?

Match the message to the desired emotional result.

Katie Morrison is an account manager for advertising clients of the Big Sky Weekly. Contact her for more information at, or (406) 995-2055.

The Outlaw Partners is a creative marketing, media and events company based in Big Sky, Montana.

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