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Advertising Campaign

By: Avinash Narula

Most advertisers with small budgets think in terms of a single advertisement while advertisers with larger budgets think in terms of a campaign. Like so many other management terms, “campaign” has been borrowed from the military terminology. A series of battles to ultimately achieve its military objective is known as a campaign. Similarly, in advertising, a campaign refers to a combination of a series of different advertisements and related promotional material used in different media over a substantial time period to achieve the marketing objectives of the organization. The different advertisements and promotional materials are bound together by a unifying campaign theme. A campaign may be designed to target one specific market segment or a number of different market segments. It may zero in on one product or all the products, one specific benefit/feature of the product or all of them.

I think all advertisers, big or small should think in terms of a campaign, that is, it should organize all its marketing and advertising efforts under a unifying theme so that consumer understands your story and buys your product. You could be a company like Pepsi advertising practically every hour of the day or you could advertise like one of my clients, one advertisement once a month. In both the cases, the advertising should be in a campaign mode. We should never think in terms of a single advertisement as that will result in a disjointed message being received by your target audience.

A campaign is planned advertising irrespective of the frequency and the budget. It is way of thinking to ensure that a consistent message is received by the consumer. It also involves using an appropriate advertising and promotion mix to tap the potential of the target market. It is not just consumer advertising but also includes trade advertising, dealer advertising, direct mail, public relations, point-of-sale promotional material, advertising for in-store and street presence. All the different aspects of an advertising campaign have to be well coordinated with each other.

The following basic questions need to be answered to implement a campaign:

(a) What does the company want to say?
(b) How will we say what the company wants to say (the creative concept)?
(c) Where will we say what needs to be said (the media plan)?

Basic Ingredients of a successful campaign

(1) Dominance
Quality and size of advertising is important to make an impact and not just pure quantity. It is better to have fewer advertisements of the right size than a large number of small advertisements which may not even get noticed.

(2) Concentration
This is corollary to the dominance and implies dominance in a particular region or area for the campaign to have any impact. Scattered advertisements all over the country will not have the desired impact. A concentrated presence in one geographical area is preferred over scattered presence all over the country. The same applies to media also. It is better to concentrate on fewer media so that you dominate over the competitor’s presence in that media. Concentration implies a more focus approach. Needless to say, even the creative concept should concentrate on one “big idea,” the theme or the selling point.

Repetition is very important. As such, the campaign theme should be flexible to allow repetition by changing the execution. It should also be flexible in terms of using the creative concept in different media. How much repetition is necessary? Enough to ensure that the message is ingrained in the mind of the customer. To ensure adequate level of repetition, reminder media should be included in the media plan.

Campaign Objectives

Just like any advertising, an advertising campaign can have numerous objectives some of which are listed below:
(a) Stimulate primary demand for a product
(b) Build brand image
(c) Educate the customer on the benefits of the product.
(d) Increase brand awareness
(e) Introduce a new or modified product.
(f) Increase sales of products.
(g) To increase market share
h) Enhance corporate image

Advantages of a campaign

Assists in repetition without boredom
In order to make your message stick with your target, you have to repeat the same advertisement a number of times. However, you can repeat the same advertisement only so many times. After sometime, the target audience get immune to your advertisement. It knows its the same old message and becomes indifferent to your advertising. The way out of this dilemma is to repeat the concept but change the execution. Changing the execution could mean change the design. For instance, Pepsi changes the story board as well as the celebrities. However, the concept remains the same. The idea is to repeat your message and story without boring your target audience.

Develops interest in the audience
The same message presented in different ways perks up the interest of the audience.

Usually, a campaign can generate more interest in the audience than what an individual advertisement can.

(c) Avoids wear-out

A campaign helps to avoid the wear-out of an advertisement as in a series of advertisements, the message remains the same but the execution changes. We did the same with 0% and monthly instalment amount advertisement campaigns with Prime Honda’s advertisement, a few of which you see in this book. The message remained the same but the design and execution changed.

Usually advertisements designed to grab attention are the ones that burnout the quickest.

(d) Assists in conveying a complex message

If the message is lengthy and complex, campaigns can assist in conveying the message in easy-to-remember small chunks. In a campaign mode you can present complicated message in parts through a number of advertisements.

I remember I had a client who was in the plastic business. They had a large number of products which when used with plastics result in tremendous benefits across different industries. All this could not be said in just one advertisement. There was no choice but to go in for a campaign mode in this case.

(e) Controls Scheduling over a period

In a campaign mode you are able to see the complete picture and as such you can schedule the various advertising and promotions depending on your needs rather than on an adhoc basis. You can start the campaign slow and build it up to a peak or you can start with a bang and slowly wind it down. What schedule you adopt will depend on the need of the marketplace and your business plans.

(f) Assists you in targeting a wide target audience .

You may need separate advertisement for different market segments. You will need to develop a series of advertisement in a campaign mode to do. It is necessary to be in a campaign mode in this case because even though different messages may be used to convince the different market segments, you still need the campaign theme to bring the different parts of the campaign together.

Campaign Theme

The creative concept or the “big idea” as discussed in the previous chapter would be the theme of your campaign which will hold all the elements of the campaign together.

Apart from the theme, there are number of other ways used to maintain continuity in the campaign. Catchy memorable slogans are developed which is used in all campaign material and all through the campaign. Pepsi’s “Yeh Dil Mange More” is a good example. Of course, the trick in developing slogans is in coming with something creative that get planted in the memory easily. Preferably, the slogan should based on something about the feature or benefit or character or personality product. Apart from slogans, special characters, distinctive layouts, colour schemes or celebrities are also used.

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